To encourage the use —and help dispel some myths— of Open Educational Resources, particularly in the Ontario region, government-funded NGO Contact North has published a ten-item OER “Fact Sheet” with actionable and interesting data about OER and its latest developments. OER continues to spread across the mainstream space and tackle the challenges posed by skeptics (and detractors).
Take a look at a Moodle-flavored summary of Contact North’s (also known as Contact Nord) “Ten Facts About Open Educational Resources (OERs)”
- OER represents more than “free content.” For advocates of digital openness, OER is perhaps one of the best representations, but it really is just one example, of what real freedom of information should be like. In this sense, Moodle would qualify as OER, especially as a business model that can guarantee its survival without resorting to practices that limit citizen choice of access, use, distribution, modification, or adaptation.
- OER is plentiful, but in the wild. Despite several initiatives to unify, organize, and standardize OER —including moodle.org and the potential MoodleNet— the truth is that finding relevant content still takes some search engine mastery. The Fact Sheet lists a few hubs, and if we were at a point where we could declare a future ruler, OER Commons might be the one. (Although, if this XKCD comic is any the wiser, we’re better off not looking forward to an universal standard.)
- OER is an increasingly relevant component in policymaking. More local, regional, and national governments are realizing the advantages of promoting OER over differently-licensed content in education programs and regulations. Textbook affordability is an issue connected to education costs, as is student debt, and recent discussions are only expected to continue growing. Likewise, Moodle is also being considered at the highest level of education policymaking, which the new Barcelona offices might help push into the global agenda.
- Uneven OER quality is reason for concern and perhaps its main adoption barrier. Educational content quality is not an issue exclusive to open content. While peer-review or similar vetting initiatives take form, the last line of defense, and upon whom responsibility ultimately lies, is teachers. While Moodle is not usually thought of a content quality validation tool, its communication features can help classes and other groups identify and overcome quality issues. Furthermore, OER built with Moodle, like Books, is often easier to revise and correct.
- Creative Commons is the most popular OER license. At least that is the conservative estimate, though this is not to say there are not countless options to credit authors and protect originality, but also to encourage specific uses. CC has seven, which are only one tier of several open license options. Moodle itself uses GPL.
- Open Courseware bundles OER around a syllabus or more encompassing programs. The efforts of several online learning providers, MOOCs in particular, have helped give OER direction. MIT deserves a mention for its Open Courseware initiative. Moodle course developers have always had the choice to publish complete courses using the MBZ course package format (when appropriately licensed, of course).
- What is the largest single OER repository known? Did you guess Moodle? It could be, if we don’t need the repository to be centralized. But if we do, it is difficult to contest the popularity of Wikimedia Commons, the rich content facility associated to the world’s largest encyclopedia. The Wikimedia Foundation supports
This Moodle Community related post is made possible by:Lingel Learning, where learning begins. We are dedicated to developing creative eLearning and LMS hosting solutions. Click here to learn more.pener noreferrer”>several open content initiatives, most of which comprise priceless educational resources.
To read the full list, download Contact North\Nord Full Fact Sheet, with more resources and references, at teachonline.ca. (PDF) ■