Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

Open Educational Resources: The Writing on the Wall

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I admire immensely Stephen Downes’ work.

Each weekday and Saturday morning here in Australia starts for me with a read of OLDaily over coffee.

Each day I find something that takes me on a journey of the imagination and to new connections.

Today I have been reading Stephen’s post on Open Educational Resources.

Stephen defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) thus:

Open educational resources are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone.

Stephen’s post elaborates how he came to define OERs. I noted in particular:

  • “it avoids needless redundancies. Specifically, it avoids phrases like “digital or non-digital’ which, on examination, mean the same as “everything”. It also avoids formulations like “OERs are resources that…” because this has the form “resources are resources”, which is not helpful.”
  • “What makes material used for learning an OER is not the license it carries with it, but rather, whether it allows anyone to access, use, modify and share the material.”
  • “the purpose of a functional definition – one based on the ability of a person to access, use, modify and share the resource – is that it enables a simple empirical test. Instead of metaphysical discussions about the nature of an object, we simply ask, “Can a person access the object, can a person use the object, etc.?”, and on being shown that they can, conclude that the resource is open.”
  • “The purpose of the word ‘freely’ in the definition is intended to stipulate that the resource may be access without conditions.”

With Stephen’s guidance and Leigh Blackall‘s help I have been keen to explore open sharing in my work at the University of Canberra. Recently, the #HOPAU project with the Australian Paralympic Committee  has given me opportunities to explore openness in a very practical way.

Stephen’s post today has helped me clarify the essential characteristics of this project. This is a writing on the wall time (about aspiration and country)!

Author: Keith Lyons

Clyde Street has been my WordPress blog since June 2008. I write about learning, teaching and performing.

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