Amber Thomas, David Kernohan, Mark Stiles, Tom Franklin, Chris Pegler, Liam Earney and I will present a symposium, entitled “OERs matters – vision, reality and uncertainty” at ALT-C on 8th September. In this symposium, we would like to explore a number of key issues related to the rapid development of OER initiatives, including whether:
- only prestigious institutions can make a business case for large scale OER initiatives?
- the learner can gain rich learning experiences as much in OERs as they would in more traditional settings?
- publicly-funded OER repositories are still needed even if everything is available on Youtube/slideshare/Flickr etc?
The symposium will be chaired by Oleg Liber, Director of JISC CETIS. A debate about the pros and cons of OERs will involve the following prestigious panel:
- Pollyanna Pegler, Academic, who is so keen on learning objects and sharing reusable online materials that she is writing her PhD on this subject. Because she is completely comfortable finding, adapting and reusing online materials Pollyanna struggles to understand the reservations of colleagues who prefer to stick with what they know.
- Professor Ogden Wisden, Academic. As for the idea of Open Educational Resources, he has been laughing at the concept for around 15 years, watching the promoters of self-publication change the name and publish their half-baked concepts unsuited to proper teaching.
- Quentinna Yan, Teacher, a self-motivated, keen learner, she is loyal user of MIT and OpenLearn and has studied a number of courses provided by those universities without any fee. She enjoys teaching herself everything she needs to know by using OERs and doing her learning when and where she wants.
- Professor Will Pileham-Highe PVC. He is sceptical that a move into OER would offer a realistic return on investment in his university. He is very concerned about recruitment and retention and is unsure of how OER might help him achieve his goals.
- Joe Zawinul, Government. His responsibilities cover the use of technology to save universities time and money, and he believes that sharing academic materials online would make it cheaper and provide better results than traditional lectures and tutorials.
- A representative of a commercial publisher, who is under the pressure of meeting sales targets, re-aligning business models, negotiating rights frameworks and developing innovative online services for the digital age. For him, OER might be great, if you can find a way to play the game without losing money.
We would like to invite you to join the symposium and participate in the discussion to share your thoughts and ideas. We hope that the debate will help to clarify some of the most common concerns on OER initiatives. We will also challenge the participants to think more deeply about the impacts of OERs in HE, as well as further explore and discuss these issues in the OER pilot programme.