Week 7 Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

February 20, 2012  Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

Articles I read:

Nancy L. Maron, K. Kirby Smith, and Matthew Loy (2009, July). Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today. JISC, UK. http://www.ithaka.org/ithaka-s-r/strategy/ithaka-case-studies-in-sustainability/report/SCA_Ithaka_SustainingDigitalResources_Report.pdf

Downes, Stephen (2007). Models for sustainable open educational resources. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects. 3, Retrieved on June 25, 2010,, from http://ijklo.org/Volume3/IJKLOv3p029-044Downes.pdf

Lee, M., Lin, M.-F., & Bonk, C. J. (2007, November). OOPS, turning MIT OpenCourseWare into Chinese: An analysis of a community of practice of global translators. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/463/980 (HTML) http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/463/982 (PDF)

Rita Kop and Hélène Fournier, National Research Council of Canada, John Sui Fai Mak, Australia (2011, November). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 12(7). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1041/2025 (see also entire special issue on Emergent Learning, Connections, Designs for Learning: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/issue/view/49)

                                                                                                                                                       From:  Wikiversity

The four articles that I read this week were all similar in that they defined open educational resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW) and explored the possibilities as well as the challenges they present.  I must admit that I did not know much on the topic prior to reading the articles.  I tend to be skeptical about anything that seems too good to be true.   Many of the questions raised in the articles were on my mind too.  After reading the articles, I conclude that OER creators have some short-term answers for the challenges, and they have discovered essential qualities for sustaining OER.

Qualities for Sustainable Open Educational Resources

  •  leadership
  •  incentives
  • social opportunities

I believe these qualities are important for any kind of community.  The community needs a respected leader that can steer the members in the right direction, incentives for contributors that add value to the community, and social outlets for community members to share and discuss their thoughts and opinions.

Funding Models for Sustaining Open Education Resources

That’s a lot of free money!

  •   Endowment- charitable organizations
  •   Membership- coalition of organizations contribute
  •  Donations- received by the wider community
  • Conversion- convert free consumer to paying consumer
  • Contributor-Pay- content contributors pay
  • Sponsorship- sponsor pays in exchange for advertisement space
  • Institutional- institution pays
  • Governmental-  government pays
  • Partnerships and Exchanges- partners exchange content

Sharing Content

I have been curious about this topic ever since Napster and other sharing sites became known in the late nineties.  I can remember my younger brothers showing me their zillions of audio files they downloaded for free through shared folders.  I can also remember how people would make copies of audiotapes and VHS tapes and use devices to pirate TV signals.  Nothing has changed really.  If there is a barrier that prevents people from getting something they want and can’t afford, they will find a way to get it, even if it is illegal. So maybe content should be free.

On the one hand, it seems like a great idea to just give everything away for free.  Everyone deserves a good education.

On the other hand, there is no such thing as a “free lunch” and someone has to invest his or her time and money.   The quality of the free content will be based on the amount of motivation, determination, interest and persistence the contributors have.  These issues create more questions than answers .

Questions that remain unanswered for me are:

 OER Contributors

  • How do you sustain the interest and dedication of your volunteers/contributors?
  • How do you maintain accuracy and quality?

OER Content

  • What is the quality?
  • How accurate is the content?  How do we know?
  • What happens when great projects run out of money and cannot find funding?  Do they just disappear?

Without any kind of credibility, I am afraid that I would question the accuracy of any free content.

Universities offering Free Courses

  • What are MIT’s motives behind offering free courses?
  • Why aren’t other universities offering free courses?
  • Do people have hidden agendas when creating OERs?
  • Is this movement going to change the way content creators are compensated for their work?
  • What is going  to happen with copyright laws?  Does the general public even care about copyright laws or know the consequences?


I enjoyed reading the OOPs article because it seems to reinforce the notion that people prefer to learn in a social environment.  It reinforces the ideas that people want to be heard, want to contribute to a greater good, and want to connect with others (even if they are on the other side of the world).

I am captivated by Luc and his vision because he has a tall order to fill and a large crowd to please. I love what he said to his members, “All readers are proofreaders. For us, there will never be a finalized version. Everything is forever up for discussion, and modification.”  It is powerful because it makes it clear that anyone is welcome to contribute.  His message indicates his high expectations for the quality of the content.  Most importantly, his message encourages the members to be humble and help each other improve.

Key Principles for Community of Practice

  • sharing goals
  • trust and respect
  • shared history
  • identity
  • shared spaces for idea negotiation
  • influence
  • autonomy
  • team collaboration
  • personal fulfillment and events embedded in real world practices
  • rewards, acknowledgements and fulfilling a personal need
  • What is Connectivism?

  • Connectivism recognizes the centrality to learning of idea generation supported by social activity and enabled by personal networks, interactivity, and engagement in experiential tasks. As such, Connectivism is particularly attuned to the principles of the Web 2.0 era. (Siemens, 2005).  I don’t know much about Connectivism; however, I am intrigued because the more I learn about the Web 2.0, the more I realize that socialization, collaboration, and cooperation are necessary and important for meaningful learning.
  • I really like the format of a Connectivist course:1)  access to content2)  record content3)  create own content

    4)  share content

    This reminds me of Dr. Bonk’s R2D2 model, Read, Reflect, Display, Do.  As learners, we cannot merely see and hear the content, we need to do something with it.  And then we need talk about it.  In essence, we need to redefine the content so that it makes sense to us.  If it makes sense to us, then we should be able to explain it to others.

Even Albert Einstein Liked to Share

“If I give you a penny, you will be one penny richer and I’ll be one penny poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.” Albert Einstein

I like this quote.  I love the idea of sharing.  When I first started teaching, I felt limited to sharing resources with the teachers in my building or my teacher friends from college.   It is so different now because thanks to the Web 2.0, we can not only share our resources anytime with friends and colleagues but also with people we may never meet.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #7:

Old Film

German Words:

eine Seife  soap

eine Sonnenbrille  sunglasses

Taschentucher tissues

eine Burste brush













Ok, so the months are obvious 😉

Montag  Monday

Dienstag  Tuesday

Mittwoch  Wednesday

Donnerstag  Thursday

Freitag  Friday

Samstag  Saturday

Sonntag  Sunday

Tschuss!  bye!


One comment on “Week 7 Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

  1. Curt Bonk says:

    Ok, the future is so bright here in April, that I have to wear eine Sonnenbrille. Yes, we have emerged into a sharing culture. As you know, the upgraded paperback version of my World is Open book begins with ideas related to sharing. And so it is. Sharing is a journey that each of us is taking part in today. My prequel is simply an attempt to point this out.

    You have yet another comprehensive post Kim. And again a target of your discussion is quality. Undoubtedly, this is a keen interest area or yours. What is this quality factor? Have you seen this as a them in your posts as well?

    You raise myriad questions in this post; some of which you might pursue in an independent study or research project. You also have highlighted the issues surrounding OER and OCW quite well. We need leaders to emerge here (leaders like my good friend Lucifer Chu) and we need to better understand the long-term and successful funding models (Stephen Downes informs us of many).

    An effective COP does have many aspects to it. You listed many of the key ones. If I have not yet shared my COP article with you (I think I have), just let me know.

    Thanks again for referring to my little R2D2 model. One of my attempts to frame the vast changes in front of us for instructors to better understand them and use technology and pedagogy to improve the learning taking place in this little planet.


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