On the issue of “Why OER?” I came across this fairly comprehensive list fromeLearn Magazine. From the institutional point of view many ‘big picture’ benefits can be realized. Read the entire article “The World is Open for a Reason: Make that 30 Reasons!” for even more reasons from the perspective of the learner and lecturer.
1. Information Dissemination. Colleges and universities are in the business to generate, archive, and disseminate knowledge. OER is a highly effective way to accomplish such goals, especially those related to information dissemination. Colleges and universities also benefit by saving time in developing new content, courses, and programs.
2. Student Assistance. Help potential students find interesting major and minor areas of study as well as interesting casual electives.
3. Supporting Alumni. Retool and provide professional development opportunities for alumni by bringing them back to campus virtually whenever they desire or find the time.
4. Sharing Teaching Practices and Ideas. Foster the sharing of teaching approaches and innovations across the campus or campuses, and, thereby, potentially increase standards of teaching excellence. As this occurs, it helps instructors reflect on their teaching practices as well as their underlying philosophies of what makes for effective teaching.
5. Program, Department, and Institutional Marketing. Market specific courses, programs, and departments as well as the institution or organization as a whole.
6. Goodwill and Global Education Efforts. People in third-world countries might have access to college content that would normally not be available. For example, public health, nutrition, wellness, and family planning courses can be made available to people from countries who are in need of it.
7. Potential Partnerships and Global Education Efforts. New local and global partnerships and programs may arise from the media and other attention brought about from sharing online content. In addition, free online courses can also be packaged into global and transnational education efforts.
8. Content and Course Feedback. People outside the university might lend feedback on the contents that are posted and perhaps even find and point out errors, thereby improving the course content.
9. Economic Support and Career Options. These courses might help the country and the world during difficult economic times such as those currently being felt. With OER, people in tough situations might find career options and valuable new skills.
10. Set Example and Open Dialogue about Educational Rights. MIT, Utah State, and hundreds of other colleges and universities around the world have posted their work online as a shining example to others. Through their efforts, the world community can begin discussions about human rights to education. Universal education rights! Conferences can be formed, books can be written, research can be undertaken, etc.