Celebrating Open Education Week with Open Educational Resources

Posted by Evan Ryan
March 11, 2016
Students work in the computer lab at their school.

March 7-11 marks Open Education Week: a perfect opportunity to celebrate the potential of open educational resources, or OER.  Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials that have intellectual property licenses allowing free use and repurposing. Today thousands of open educational resources enable instruction and learning, ranging from MIT OpenCourseWare’s full courses and OpenStax’s college textbooks to the individual lesson plans and tools available on OER Commons.

While the “free use” part is exciting, I am more intrigued by the potential opportunities to edit and adapt open educational resources in new contexts. Educators anywhere can borrow open materials from their peers around the world: students in Jordan and Lebanon can use and adapt materials produced in the United States, and U.S. students can learn from materials developed in India or South Africa. The materials can spark new dialogues, creating opportunities for teachers and students everywhere to interact. Open educational resources increasingly allow us to connect, share, and engage across borders and cultures. And they will play a significant role in helping achieve United Nations Sustainability Goal #4 -- adopted by the U.S. and other General Assembly member countries in 2015 -- to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote life-long learning.”

In the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, we are thrilled to collaborate with government officials and civil society representatives to increase the number and availability of government-funded open educational resources.  As part of our commitment in the 2016 U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, we will publish best practices and tools for agencies interested in developing grant-supported open licensing projects. These tools will detail how they can integrate open licensing into projects from technical and legal perspectives.

Making more resources available is only the beginning. The challenge ahead lies in how we can make the most of OER as a powerful tool for mutual understanding as well as the two-way educational exchanges we can create with OER-based learning. We piloted using OER in three 2015 exchanges and explored preliminary findings here. However, we want to know what you recommend for our collective engagement with open educational resources.

How could sharing these resources help you, your learning communities, and your government? How might we ensure these tools will be useful and adaptable to local needs in other countries and learning contexts?

Likewise, how can we find tools that your communities have created, and make them more accessible for communities here and around the globe?  What sort of exchanges or collaborations could we build around these resources?

Please send us your ideas and suggestions to tell us what you’ve seen (or would like to see) so that together, we can seize the incredible opportunity of OER to build dialogue and community.  

About the Author: Evan Ryan serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Comments

Comments

INDIA B.
|
California, USA
March 12, 2016
As a private music teacher this will open many doors for teaching materials
Raymond P.
|
Hawaii, USA
March 13, 2016
1. paperware is inappropriate for open textware 2. open textware should be tablet-screen compatible 2.1. that means one-column/reflow-landscape pdf's 2.2. that also means finger/text-commenting on pdf's 3. [YouTube] video courseware still needs comments 3.1. that includes redirectably to one's own professor 4. [YouTube] video courseware needs in-video errata 4.1. that might also mean in-situ-editable videos 4.1.1 or might mean in-channel-redirects of withdrawals 4.2. it also means non-copyable-original URL-franchising 5. [YouTube] video courseware needs massive REF-links 6. open textware should be segmented for downloading 6.1. alternatively, textware should be signup-for-multicast 7. open textware needs be hyperlinked to tutorial-chapters 8. open textware workbooks need implement PERT mastery 9. open textware needs facilitate global, source collaboration 9.1. that also includes after-webpublication feedback-errata 9.2. that also means webpublication-linking discussion-errata 9.3. (it also means file-properties must state download size) 9.4. that also means greatly expanded pdf character font sets 9.5. it also means greatly expanded tablet-keyboard font sets 9.6. (and it should mean greatly expanded plaintext font sets) 9.7. Commentarily this may help authors focus their specialty 10. You've already mentioned international translation rights
JBintials S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 15, 2016
Evan Ryan, Welcome to the world of Open Educational Resources, but (OER) is just one significant piece belonging to the global Open Education Movement, just as Open Data is just one significant piece belonging to the global Open Science Movement. Both Open Education and Open Science belong to the global Semantic 3.0 Web Movement. And there's more.
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 15, 2016

Evan Ryan, To locate and find Open Educational Resources go to www.merlot.org

JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 16, 2016
Evan Ryan, Learn more about "Open Science" at www.fosteropenscience.eu/foster-taxonomy/open-science/
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 17, 2016
Evan Ryan, I forgot to mention CSU's MERLOT student portal at www.merlotx.org An easy way for students to engage with OER.
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 20, 2016
Evan Ryan, This is an excellent six part video series by Washington State focusing on some of the evolving OER educational policies seen today. http://www.openwa.org/oer-policy-video-overview
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 22, 2016
Evan Ryan, Here is another global OER Initiative "Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South (ROER4D) that you should be familiar with at www.roer4d.org Watch their excellent slide presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 23, 2016
Evan Ryan, UNESCO's ICT Competency Framework for Teachers identifies a framework of 18 modules for implementing OER. http://www.unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002134/213475e.pdf
JBintialis S.
|
Idaho, USA
March 23, 2016
Evan Ryan, The easiest way to achieve what you are doing is to use virtual reality. Team up with Google (Goggle Cardboard) and Facebook (VPU VR Devices) to create more cultural virtual reality experiences that can be shared worldwide using both mobile devices and VR devices. Here is a good example for you to watch: The Great Green Wall www.greatgreenwall.org/#growing-a-world-wonder Enjoy :)

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