Our team met yesterday to discuss the progress on the project and our next steps. We have identified a wide array of resources throughout our institution. Some of which were designed to be shared and are ready to go, and some which were designed for practical use in the classroom or beyond and will need to go through the process of copyright clearance. The creation of these resources has been driven by a teaching and learning need.
A question that came up was how we can create value in the process of creating and using OER for academics? Our system of publishing and sharing must not simply exist but also must address a teaching and learning purpose.
By making teaching and learning materials discoverable online we are sharing the tools which enable higher order intelligence at our institution. The tools we use to enable learners to grasp abstract concepts are culturally and socially defined in form and use. Surely in sharing our particular use of teaching and learning materials and presenting opportunities to adapt or localize these materials at other institutions we are creating avenues for tool development as well as research. [Since I have been engrossed in Vygotskian theory lately I had to apply some of his principles]
The OER movement in many ways is about addressing the misconceptions people have about sharing in the realm of teaching and learning materials. Institutions around the world are attempting to bestow the knowledge that we as a civilization have accumulated. We all use various means and methods to bring the student to an understanding of a subject. Wouldn’t it be interesting for academics in similar disciplines to share their methods and tools?
We know we can not force anyone to share. From what we have seen very few OER movements have been successful in forcing the idea upon the academic community. An organic proliferation of the “culture of sharing” is what we intend to grow.
We hope that academics will begin sharing in stories of collaboration, translation, adaptation, and a new awareness of how ICT can influence their teaching practices will bloom. We so often do not know what our colleagues are up to just down the hall. Perhaps the ability to create an online network of like minded people and a platform for sharing online will provide some of the value we are seeking.