Tuesday, 23 September 2014

What should open educational resources (aka #FOAMed) 'replace' in university education?

I thought that all of us agreed on the answer to this question. Surely... surely... it must be acceptable for Open Educational Resources (OER)  to be incorporated into university education? But this tweet produced a lot of discussion. You can see many of the tweets here but some of the issues raised were :

1. Is it acceptable for students to pay for a course where free content is used?  My first thought was why wouldn't it be? But I suppose this question is hinting at a similar distinction to a creative commons license which allows reuse for commercial purposes and one which does not. It used to be that we thought of OER as coming primarily from institutions (and possibly being re-used by them too) whilst social media tools have allowed more and more OER to be produced by individuals and disseminated through networks. Some of this is #FOAMed and it is maybe not surprising if the individuals producing it don't feel so happy about institutional re-use.

2. Can we identify the best lecture on congestive heart failure (CHF) in the world?  This supposes that across the world we have shared concepts of what is the best lecture? Treatments and management might vary throughout the world but maybe we could find the best 'lecture' on pathophysiology? Maybe it is this 13 min long video from Vanderbilt University?

Maybe the students and teachers on your course could get together to try and identify some of the best resources for their course as we are doing here with our curation project.

3. Is the reuse of materials like the lecture above a threat to local pedagogical practice? I struggled most with this question. I happen to think that reuse of materials like the short video above opens up so many possibilities for local pedagogical practice. The video could be remixed using TedEd  with questions relevant to local practice, and links to local guidelines or formularies. It could be remixed using Mozilla Popcorn maker in an infinte number of ways. And the remix could be remixed again by other local colleges or by students. We are not talking here about people sharing content through MOOCs which  often aren't really very open at all, though of course there are exceptions! .

4. What can OER replace? If lectures (like textbooks) were about information transmission then OER selected (and remixed) for local relevance might replace them. And do a better job. But I can't see why teachers will be replaced.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the discussion so far. What other questions should be be asking about OER and do you have any different answers to those I have asked above?