Last year before I came to US, some Open Education Resources had gained great popularity in China. Chinese people, especially Chinese college students, enter into classes of Yale University and MIT by watching various course videos released by these two institutions. Some people watch these course videos simply because they want to improve their English, some do so because they are curious about what these classes look like, some students watch these videos to get prepared for their study in US, while others just want to experience the western education in this way because they know they probably never have change to go abroad.
Now opening Apple’s Chinese webpage, you will say Apple is selling IPads in China through taking advantage of OER. The advertisement says, “click the iTunes U icon, you will get tons of course materials from top universities all over the world”. I am wondering whether Apple has sponsored any of these universities which open their courseware to the public.
I think OER is one of the most amazing things in this world. It benefits the whole society through equalizing the access to high quality educational resources, and promoting the value of learning and sharing. It is as Mimi Ito proposed that OER “breaks the stock of knowledge and creates the flow of it”.
However, till now not every unit or institution is capable or generous enough to open their educational resources. They worry their openness will take their students away and strain their revenue. Besides the challenge of opening new sources, OER is facing the threat of maintaining the sustainability of existing resources. According to Atkins, Brown & Hammond, (2007), Transformative Initiatives may bring good solutions to these two challenges, but the specific approaches it suggests, e-service, cyber infrastructure-enhanced science, and cyber infrastructure-enhanced humanity, are so abstruse too me. Recently I read David Wiley’ s blog, he brought up two practical and effective solutions, which I think if applied, will exert huge propelling forces: 1. consider creating, sharing, and reusing OER in the tenure and promotion process to engage more faculty in the OER movement. 2. US News & World Report include “embodied in OCW/OER projects” as a part of the institution ranking formula to involve more universities and colleges in contributing to the OER construction.
Atkins, Dan, Brown, John Seely, & Hammond, Allen (2007, February). A review of the open educational resources (OER) movement: Achievements, challenges, new opportunities. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. (84 pages). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.oerderves.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/a-review-of-the-open-educational-resources-oer-movement_final.pdf