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Christine Geith's contribution to the OSS and OER in Education Series. In this post, she writes about how OER may be shaping the future of a new type of university.

Author - Christine Geith, "Can OER Really Impact Higher Education and Human Development?" Originally submitted February 1st, 2008 to the OSS and OER in Education Series, Terra Incognita blog (Penn State World Campus), edited by Ken Udas.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are rapidly growing and taking shape. What might it mean for higher education? The movement holds promise for opening up access and improving the quality of higher education around the world. It could even create new types of universities.

But, haven’t we heard this before?

In the early to mid 90’s, online learning held similar promise. Early adopters of online learning also focused on access and quality. The web enabled exciting new ways to design and deliver student-centered learning; it enabled the convenience of anytime-anywhere education.

Yet, when you look at online learning’s impact, at least in the U.S., it has not delivered on the promise of increased access (for quality it has faired better). Nor is online learning the disruptive innovation it was hyped to be in the 1990’s. OER shares some of the characteristics of online learning. We can look to online learning as a guidepost to OER.

Can oer live up to its promise?

Viewed as content alone, it is likely that OER will become another incremental innovation: it is an extension of existing higher education activities; it provides more options for learning and it expands reach to include those not typically served by the institution. In this way, it expands access – access to resources. But resources are only part of what is needed.

OER promises cost-reducing efficiencies. Using OER to produce teaching materials lowers costs of creation and distribution. Low-cost or free textbooks, video lectures, handouts, etc. are important for increasing access to resources around the world. New systems could be built on these efficiencies that could make education less expensive, while still being local and personal. Low-cost models have been implemented using online learning. For example, you can now earn a U.S. regionally-accredited master degree online for $4,900 .

At least one concept for a new university has been discussed that is based on the efficiencies of OER content. For example, Jim Fay, California State University, and Jan Sjogren, Argosy University, proposed an open source online degree-granting institution at the Fall 2007 MIT-LINC meeting. Their Open Source Online University is modeled after a traditional university in structure and functions. It uses the innovation of OER to lower costs and increase scalability by creating a new publishing mechanism for faculty while it creates a global online open curriculum, with many variations, to be openly shared around the world.

OER are also communities. From this point of view, OER may be able to have a bigger impact on access, equity and quality because it is imbedded in a network of people and organizations that collaborate and share similar goals. Wikieducator is a good example of OER as community. Recently celebrating 2,500 users and 100,000 edits, Wikieducator has the makings of the kind of “digital university” described by John Seeley Brown and Paul Duguid in their landmark paper from 1995. It is more likely that new solutions for access will come out of these kinds of community models.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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