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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 variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
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 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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