There are two barriers to quick adoption of OER: 1. migration from comprehensive “textbook” to granular and disparate content, and 2. the lack of easy discoverability of non “textbook” content.
Today, the majority of publisher content and OER state initiatives focus on textbooks. But, many instructors are moving away for comprehensive textbooks-whether they be commercial or open--regardless of the OER movement as they are looking for content that is more modular and customizable to their specific curricula. The modular approach is just as desired when looking for OER, so “textbooks” that are open and free are not necessarily improving teaching and learning.
In order to make the use of OER more effective and efficient, instructors need:
- Better discoverability for granular uses of OER
- Easier ways to collaborate with other instructions in curation of OER
- Professional development, from digital literacy to integrating OER with best practices in teaching and learning
- Top down combined with bottom-up support/funding/mandates/structure
The highest quality repositories of OER are filled with first-generation OER that is comprehensive and similar to commercial textbooks. These include California State University System’s MERLOT the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Open Course Library. The question is, how we help instructors and institutions access, create, and share content? How and who in the OER movement will facilitate ways to champion adopters of OER and mainstream it? Café Learn is certainly one such tool, and others are emerging. We want to know what you’re doing and what you are using.
Blog post by Carrie O'Donnell, Café Learn CEO and Co-Founder