Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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PCC attends Oregon Open Educational Resource Summit in Astoria, OR

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Several staff and faculty from PCC attended the first Oregon Open Educational Resource (OER) Summit in Astoria, OR on Friday, May 9th. OERs include any educational material (physical or electronic) that is released with less restrictive rights on their use. The Summit was intended to bring staff, faculty and administrators from Oregon’s seventeen Community Colleges together to discuss the potential that OERs can have in reducing the cost of attending college for students. Cable Green, Director of Global Learning for Creative Commons was the keynote presenter. Cable’s keynote (slides available) highlighted the rising cost of college, the impact of debt on students, the challenges of traditional copyright, and the opportunities available to educators and colleges through Creative Commons licensing.

Rather than try to summarize his keynote in text, which would likely fall flat, I’ve added a recording of a very similar presentation done at Ohio State in 2013.

Fascinating, huh? Is there anything we can or should do?

What about PCC?

PCC was represented by Donna Reed (Library Director), Ken Brown (Bookstores Manager), Dan Dougherty (CIS Dept. Chair & Faculty), Rondi Schei (Econ Instructor & DL Mentor), Rebecca Robinson (MSD Dept. Chair, Faculty, and DL Mentor), and Greg Kaminski, Loraine Schmitt, Steve Beining and Andy Freed from Distance Education. Over lunch, we were able to discuss the benefits and challenges that the use and adoption of OER could face at our institution.

  1. No identified licensing process for College-produced content
  2. Lack of awareness of OER and it’s potential
  3. Difficulty finding and evaluating OER content
  4. Somewhat limited compliment of activities and dynamic homework sites
  5. Quality of materials varies greatly
  1. Significantly reduced costs for students
  2. Students have access to content on first day (not after disbursement)
  3. Greater academic freedom – faculty can select content from a variety of sources and create an experience to meet course outcomes
  4. Content can be updated or adapted (for an accommodation) more quickly
  5. Supports College’s mission, vision and goals

Obviously, this is an abbreviated list. The challenges and benefits are more complicated than a few bullets, but there is ample room for discussion within our own institution.

OER in your course?

Thus far, we in Distance Education have not had any formal course development requests that have specifically identified the use of OER (either found or self-produced) in the development process. However, it’s certainly something we’d love to explore with you.

If you’re wondering if there are any open resources available for your discipline, you can start by looking at some of the resources identified in the video, or try sites like OpenStax or OPEN’s FindOER. And if you know of any even better options for your discipline, please share!

About Andy Freed

I'm the Manager of Technology and Support in the Distance Education department, where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services group. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several posit... more »


There is one comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Peter Seaman 2 years ago

Hi Andy: I’ve been following this issue for years, esp when I chaired the Library Advisory Committee, where we talked about ways the library could reduce costs for students. Seems to me that the missing link in adoption of OERs is *no incentive for instructors to adopt OERs*. It’s the same lack of incentive that occurs in the f2f classroom: why should an instructor bother with OERs, which are more work to review, update, and integrate, when a textbook publisher will provide everything needed, including web materials (which are constantly improving)? The student bears the cost of materials, not the instructor. Of course there’s now a law requiring colleges to publish the cost of textbooks for each course (in theory allowing students to “shop” for the cheapest class). But I’m still not seeing many students choose classes this way – though I hope that’s changing. Anyway, til colleges address the systemic lack of incentive for instructors to hold down material-costs for students, I don’t see OERs or other open resources gaining much traction. Thanks. – Peter

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