OER Implementation Strategy Document – Foundations for OER Strategy Development in the David Wiley OER Cohort

©ER OER

 

OER vs. ©ER vs. ©EROER – Some, not all, options are discussed in ‘Foundations for OER Strategy Development’, a conversation framed by David Wiley’s OER cohort in the ‘OER Implementation Strategy Document’

[related: Downes – Wiley – A Conversation on Open Educational Resources – 2009 Posted]

Below, In the OER Implementation Strategy Document, defining common ground is a challenge with many different perspectives within this OER cohort, more or less including Stephen Downes.

The conversation where we compare OER vs. ©ER vs. OER©ER – where we can now choose specific examples within BCcampus Open Textbook Program.

My Best Understanding of OER and implementation is likely the BCcampus Open Textbooks Programs and it’s helpful to me to think of BCcampus OER as our common reference, and BCcampus OER easily replaces the vague-unspecified usage of  “OER” within this document.

“Our hope is that this document will serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. We also hope that this document, and the strategies within, will evolve as the conversation evolve to provide useful insight for both global coordination and local action.”

Is the goal of “mainstreaming OER”, “People adopting OER instead of non-open resources”?

This blog is being used for ongoing reference, additional notes, current updates. The ‘red lights’ in meaning or agreement will be highlighted. . .


July 13 2015

Let’s focus on BCcampus Open Textbooks when analyzing the David Wiley Cohort OER Implementation 2 step process of replacing non-open resources.

“We understand adoption as a two-step process: people adopting OER instead of non-open resources, and people taking advantage of the rights and permissions granted by OER, to use and reuse content.”

 

 

People adopting OER instead of non-open resources = supporting the broad adoption and use of open educational resources in formal education

 

The 12th Annual Open Education Conference
#OpenEd15: The Impact of Open – People adopting OER instead of non-open resources = supporting the broad adoption and use of open educational resources in formal education

November 18-20, Vancouver BC, Canada

http://openedconference.org/2015/

 

Conference Themes

Keynote addresses and concurrent sessions at OpenEd15 will address the following themes, role of students role of faculty role of libraries models exploring non-profit and for-profit sustainability models for OER and openness in education – supporting the broad adoption and use of open educational resources in formal education –  promoting and evaluating institutional and governmental open policies and strategies [Public Funding Sources]

  • models supporting the broad adoption and use of open educational resources in formal education
  • understanding the role of students in advocating for and supporting OER adoption and use
  • understanding the role of faculty in advocating for and supporting OER adoption and use
  • understanding the role of libraries in advocating for and supporting OER adoption and use
  • connecting open educational resources to competency based education, prior learning assessment, and alternative pathways to credentials based on OER
  • measuring the impact of openness on the cost of education and student success metrics
  • promoting and evaluating institutional and governmental open policies and strategies
  • designing and using open pedagogies that leverage the 5R permissions of OER
  • democratizing the credentialing process with open badges and other alternative credentials
  • exploring non-profit and for-profit sustainability models for OER and openness in education
  • supporting social learning with OER
  • the role of openness in shaping the future of education
  • improving the quality of research in open education
  • innovating at the bleeding edge of openness
  • strengthening the synergies between open education and parallel work in the open data, open access, open science, and open source software movements

Keynote Speakers

Following the keynote format we premiered in 2011, this year’s keynote addresses will come in pairs. These paired keynotes will provide a range of perspectives on timely topics of critical importance to the field of open education.

http://openedconference.org/2015/keynote-speakers/

Michael Feldstein and Phil Hill

Keynote Pairing 1:

Openness and the Future of Post-Secondary Education

 

Mary Burgess and David Porter

Keynote Pairing 2:

Supporting Open Textbook Adoption in British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[copy-paste June 21 2015 _ https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IYDeAmw3aMxuqpfEr_7BEwM5FJiqqX1S4dzPJZQqwTY/edit _ ]

Draft 1.1 Updated: June 15, 2015

Foundations for OER Strategy Development

Drafting committee members: Nicole Allen, Delia Browne, Mary Lou Forward, Cable Green and Alek Tarkowski

Purpose of Document

 

For more than a decade the movement for Open Educational Resources (OER) has evolved from a collection of small, localized efforts to a broad international network of institutions, organizations, practitioners, advocates and funders. While significant progress has been made on both expanding the availability of OER content and expanding its use, OER has not reached its full potential of entering mainstream education on a global scale.

 

The goals and broader vision for OER are outlined in foundational documents including the Cape Town Declaration and Paris Declaration. These documents are critical for communicating the case for OER to the outside world and providing a unifying voice for the movement. But while the goals for OER are clear and broadly agreed upon by the movement, the means and strategies for achieving them are not. To actualize the full vision of OER, a need has emerged for a document that looks inward and addresses strategic questions about how we, as the global OER movement, can reach our goals.

 

The purpose of this document is to provide a concise analysis of where the global OER movement currently stands: what the common threads are, where the greatest opportunities and challenges lie, and how we can more effectively work together as a community. The first draft was born from a meeting of 26 OER leaders in February 2015. We then shared this document and had multiple discussion with members of the international OER community at the 2015 Hewlett OER grantees meeting, OER15, and Open Ed Global 2015. Comments from all three meetings were integrated into this draft document.

 

Our hope is that this document will serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. We also hope that this document, and the strategies within, will evolve as the conversation evolve to provide useful insight for both global coordination and local action.

 

State of the Movement

 

The OER movement consists of diverse individuals and organizations spanning educational institutions, IGOs, NGOs, and activities at all levels, from teaching infants to seniors; and a diversity of countries around the globe, with varied educational systems and social, economic and cultural contexts. The diversity of our perspectives, resources, and capacities is one of our movement’s great strengths, but it can also make strategy conversations challenging, as these discussions must start with a shared sense of what the strategy hopes to achieve. While the movement generally can agree upon the goals and vision outlined in the Cape Town and Paris Declarations, the specific missions and priorities of community members vary widely.

 

The common thread that seems to unite the movement is a belief in expanding the adoption of OER. While there are different visions for the specific practices, impacts, and audiences to be served and supported by expanding OER, we can all agree more or less on what OER is, and that widespread use of OER is a positive and necessary change in education. Given this common understanding, strategies can grow out of identifying the common challenges and opportunities around OER, and developing a shared sense of priority about what kind of actions will help advance the proliferation of OER development and use.

 

We Have Similar Perspectives On

 

 

  • Definition of OER: The movement broadly agrees on the definition of OER as put forth by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation or UNESCO, noting that there may be some differences around which specific licenses qualify as OER (such as those restricting commercial use).  However, the general understanding that OER must be both free for students and teachers to access and to legally modify is widely accepted.
  • Overall Vision: The Cape Town and Paris Declarations each outline aspirational visions and goals for actualizing the potential of OER. While community members may place more emphasis or priority on some elements over others, in general the movement agrees that these documents form the basis for what we are hoping to accomplish.
  • Necessity of OER Adoption: While members of the community hold different goals for OER use, and different perspectives on the aspects of OER that are most important, we are united in asserting that OER adoption is necessary to actualize its potential. We understand adoption as a two-step process: people adopting OER instead of non-open resources, and people taking advantage of the rights and permissions granted by OER, to use and reuse content.
  • OER Ecosystem: We also agree that as preconditions of OER adoption, three elements are necessary:

 

    • Demand: Awareness of OER and the motivation to use it.
    • Supply: Infrastructure in terms of OER content and the tools to find, use, and adapt it.
    • Capacity: Community and systemic support that will sustain OER.
  • General Value Proposition: OER makes education accessible and expands the universe of what’s possible in education by allowing the 5Rs (reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, retain), and amplifying educators’ agency by increasing choices around content usage.
  • Licensing Standard: There is general recognition that Creative Commons licenses (excluding those with an ND restriction) are the standard way to license content as OER, where licensing is required.

 

We Have Various Perspectives On

 

Most Important Strategic Goal of OER

 

There are many strategic goals of OER, and while we generally agree that all of them are important, members of the movement place priority on different aspects. Some of the most typical strategic goals of OER are:

 

  • Reducing barriers to education, including access, cost, language and format.
  • Transforming teaching and learning and enabling effective pedagogy.
  • Enabling the free access to and reuse of expressions of human knowledge, in all of its forms.
  • Enhancing educational opportunities to foster development and more productive, free societies.
  • Re-professionalizing teaching.
  • Connecting communities of educators around open content.
  • Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of public funds spent on education.
  • Expanding internet and digital technologies in education.

 

Extent of Market Penetration Necessary to Consider OER a “Success”

 

There are varied opinions about what extent of OER adoption is necessary for our model to achieve success:

 

  • Disrupting the educational materials and services market so that it flips to OER as the default model for resource production.
  • Shifting public funding models to pay for publishing services, rather than paying for individual copies of textbooks.
  • Mainstreaming OER among educators so it competes with the traditional publishing model in terms of reach and use.
  • Sufficient quantity of high quality OER necessary to provide choice.

 

Top Strategic Priorities for OER

 

Taking into account the strategic goals listed above, we can define several leading actions to achieve them. While the movement can agree that all of these actions are important, there is no consensus on which one is the top priority. Some of the top priorities are:

 

  • Build OER content to fill gaps in key disciplines or contexts and enable productive reuse, including openly licensed assessment items and openly licensed competency maps and lists of learning outcomes.
  • Develop and implement open licensing policies that require public and foundation funded educational resources are openly licensed (CC BY license preferred) by default.
  • Create and communicate effective research studies in conjunction with OER development and use.
  • Grow and foster communities that support, in a grassroots manner, the development and mainstreaming of OER.
  • Develop models or strategies for OER adoption, development and/or evaluation that can be replicated in other contexts.
  • Build key tools that enable more effective development, management, discovery and reuse.
  • Broadening our focus to include the practices of educators that can be achieved with a shift to open resources, for example, open pedagogy, open assessment, open credentials, etc.
  • Better communications about the value of OER.
  • Scale OER in a specific sector, i.e. K-12, higher education, workforce development, lifelong learning, etc.

 

Movement Strengths

 

The OER movement has achieved multiple victories and successes. Among the most important ones are:

 

  • Breadth of Content: Over years, different projects have tested and developed a wide range of open resources that prove to be high quality, cost-effective, effective in supporting learning and sustainable. The types of resources include content repositories, textbooks, and courses. Resources span all levels of education from early childhood to adult, and cover manifold topics and subject areas.
  • Strong Policy Models: Successful OER advocacy has led to the design and deployment of policies supporting OER production and use, at different levels: school, city, national and international. Policies have also been developed by private educational foundations and private companies. Together, they provide a broad template that can be adapted and reused.
  • Collective Impact: Coalitions have been proven to be successful in promoting OER, advocating for policies and achieving change. They provide for a strong legitimization by a collective voice of varied actors with interest in education: non-governmental organisations, public institutions and individual activists.
  • Growing Ties with the Open Movement: OER activism ais part of a broader open movement is benefitting from growing ties with advocates of open science, open data, free and open source software, open culture and/or open government. For example, students and young researchers think about OER and Open Access (OA) together; librarians with good understanding of OA are a growing force supporting OER; and OER policies are strengthened by including them in broader open government policies.
  • Individual Champions: Significant successes in OER are often attributed to passionate, persevering champions, particularly in the policy and adoption arenas. Such individuals are able to achieve significant change almost single-handedly. They’re especially important when their experience and knowledge can be multiplied, by building collaborations, mentorship models, and networks with other activists.
  • Global Reach and Significance: OER has been recognised by key international organizations active in education, and has support at institutions across the globe.
  • Supportive Research: Key projects and scholars have been conducting research on OER and its impacts, and the breadth and depth of this research continues to grow.

 

Movement Challenges

 

Challenges include both external (conditions in greater educational environment) and internal

(issues within the OER movement). Not all challenges are present in every national or local context, but many themes arise frequently in strategy conversations, including:

 

  • Linear Rate of Growth: Momentum is building, but adoptions are still primarily happening on a one-by-one basis, and we’re still piloting and proving one example at a time. While pilots often prove successful, the models rarely end up being replicated or brought to scale. For full impact to be realized, growth needs to be exponential rather than linear, both within national contexts and internationally.
  • Absence of Standards: Other segments of the open movement have standardized models, such as the “green” and “gold” routes for Open Access or the 5 Star Open Data standard. The OER movement employs standardized open licenses, yet we lack still lack a single standard or unified message that is applicable around the globe. This is in part due to the diversity of the education sector, which spans education from infants to the elderly, and employs a variety of resources and tools. This is also due to a large variance between local and national autonomy of education, especially at primary and secondary levels, and variations in systems from country to country. Finally, use and reuse practices are crucial in education, as well as personalised approaches to learning – these don’t standardize easily. However, in order for OER to scale, some standards or standard pathways are needed.
  • Insufficient Awareness: Awareness of OER is still very low. This is true both in terms of understanding that OER exists as an alternative to currently used materials, and a deeper understanding of the benefits, quality, and potential innovations that can happen when it is adopted.
  • Difficulty of Discovery, Use and Remix: OER discovery, curation and re-use are often laborious and complicated. This is a consistent challenge across the commons. Repositories are varied and do not have shared search terms and metadata. Materials are presented in a wide variety of formats. Tools to assist with remix, curation and reuse are insufficient, not well known, and/or are not themselves open.
  • Inconsistent Breadth and Depth: OER supply is uneven across subject areas and disciplines. Some OER is very complete, while others are little more than links or shells. This can undermine the impacts of awareness raising and slow down momentum if people who want to adopt OER don’t have OER to adopt.
  • Lack of Evidence: A persistent area of frustration for OER supporters is the lack of compelling, locally-relevant evidence for the impact of OER. This includes research demonstrating efficacy and illustrative case studies. Just as important is a better understanding of contextual variables that affect OER adoption and impact, such as educator practices, and the ways resources and IT are employed in education.
  • Questions About Sustainability: Business models, public funding models for supporting OER continue to develop, with numerous case studies of each. However, there are still questions surrounding long-term sustainability and the ability for OER to “stick” in the marketplace without philanthropic support.
  • Minimal Evidence of Reuse: Potential for reuse is one of the key arguments OER advocates use to promote their model; using OER can make teachers and students into active creators and collaborators, while resources become dynamic and improve over time. Yet we don’t have enough compelling testimonials, case studies or evidence that this is taking place, nor have we connected this advantage to a broader problem that stakeholders care about. Cultural and legal barriers can also stand in the way.
  • All or Nothing Thinking. Many of the faculty and teachers who do evaluate OER look for a single resource to replace their existing textbook (which is also a single resource). If they can’t find a single resource that satisfies their needs they are likely to continue using their proprietary textbook. Faculty and teachers need help understanding that OER are designed to mix and match pieces from a range of sources – they are designed to be revised and remixed. If faculty cannot move beyond the “adopt a book” mentality of the previous 100 years the potential of OER will likely go unfulfilled.
  • Poor Branding: In recent years, the term “open” is used in education ever more widely, with a variety of meanings. It gives opportunity to bring OER into a broader educational debate – but with several definitions of “open”, educators and learners are understandably confused. We are at risk of others “openwashing” OER. At the same time, paradoxically, the term OER is little known, difficult and technical – not a perfect educational “buzzword”.
  • Perfect as an Enemy of the Good: It is critical to maintain a strong definition of OER to avoid “openwashing,” but this can also create a dynamic where efforts that take a step in the right direction, but do not meet our definition, are excluded and not given recognition.
  • Lack of OER heroes: Mainstreaming OER requires stories that make people pay attention – exciting and engaging enough to make them interested in a relatively challenging subject that combines pedagogy, technology and law. We have good stories, but not great ones. Some of the really big stories in modern, digital education, such as Khan Academy and MOOCs, are at best ambivalent about open.

 

Opportunities

 

Many opportunities exist for advancing OER, both in new ways and by expanding on opportunities that have already proven successful. We have organized the opportunities below based on the three components necessary for OER adoption: demand (awareness and motivation to use OER), supply (content and tools to use it), and capacity (community and systemic support for sustainability). These opportunities identify key places where the OER movement can intervene to help advance OER, and are intended to provide a useful starting point for developing strategies.

Demand

 

    • Increase Awareness: It is essential to raise awareness of OER as an option, both as an alternative to proprietary materials (and publishers’ new lease-not-own models) and also in new markets underserved by traditional publishers. Also, there is a significant awareness opportunity within populations already using openly licensed materials without fully realizing that is OER or that they can exercise 5R rights.
    • Build Evidence Base:  Improve the body of evidence showing the positive impacts of OER, focusing on contexts where OER presents an especially critical solution to a problem. This includes efficacy research that looks at key areas such as improved learning outcomes, business models, innovative reuse, improving equity, and cost savings.  It also includes compelling case studies and stories that illustrate the impacts.
    • Improve Communications: Build a stronger case for OER to strengthen its branding and value proposition. Be more active in communicating by developing resources, coordinating messages, and working with other segments of the open movement. Consider the key target audiences of OER, and tailor resources to reach those audiences. Assets such as compelling human stories, infographics, and plain language resources will be key.

 

  • Embed OER In the Teaching Profession: Take advantage of ready-made pathways for instructors to become aware of and learn to effectively use OER. In the short term, this could be linking OER with professional development activities that educational systems already conduct. In the long term, this would be integrating OER into teacher training and teacher prep programs.

 

    • Engage Key Constituencies: OER adoption is not just about engaging the teachers, schools and policymakers who make resource decisions. Other constituencies, particularly librarians and students, can play a key role in helping to catalyze and support these decision makers. Librarians are experts at finding, curating and sharing resources. This community wasn’t originally deeply engaged in OER, but has increasingly become involved. Students are also key as the beneficiaries of education, and also the largest constituency in terms of numbers. Students can also be mobilized to drive demand and as a catalyst for action. Other key constituencies include copyright officers and instructional designers.
    • Empower the grassroots: Without grassroots support from educators, OER policies will never fulfill their potential. In particular, the promise of re-use cannot be met without the engagement of users with open resources.

 

  • Coordinate Demand With Supply: Focus on building demand in areas where supply exists.

 

 

Supply

 

    • Focus on Productization: OER is easier to adopt when it is presented as a “turnkey” solution that is ready to use immediately without extra work, particularly in developed markets. Meeting the expectation of convenience that teachers and faculty have come to expect from traditional materials can help OER adoption spread on a faster and wider scale. Once practitioners are using OER in a familiar form, more work can be done to support their exploration of innovative remixing and use. Why? Leave it to faculty choice. Those that remix do not need encouragement andthose that want the full package are ok. Thereis nothing intrinsically better about  remixing.
    • Develop Strategic Tools: While building tools alone is not enough to solve problems, there are some central challenges that can be removed through strategic, interoperable tools to support the OER lifecycle: development, management, discoverability and reuse. The most immediate need to support adoption is tools for the effective discoverability of OER, but also tools that enable users to fulfill the promise of OER in terms of creation, licensing, reuse and remix for teachers and students.

 

  • Build Supply to Meet Demand: The movement has learned that the “build it and they will come” philosophy is not successful for OER. It is more effective to prioritize building OER in areas where there is high potential for large scale adoptions, both in terms of the number of students served and the potential for institutional commitment and resources to support OER development and use.
  • Accessibility: The flexibility offered by the 5Rs offers significant benefits over traditional materials in terms of Accessibility for students with disabilities. This benefit can be leveraged when creating supply, to demonstrate the benefits in contexts where Accessibility is important.

 

  • Open Up Existing Platforms and Resources: Evangelizing open can help turn existing services and resources into OER. This is a key, alternative tactic to creating new, open resources. This allows our movement to benefit from already existing resources, networks and communities, once they are made open.
  • Learners as Creators: Inherent in open pedagogies and open educational practices is the idea of students as creators. If harnessed effectively, engaging students in the development, improvement and assessment of content could help drive the supply side of the market.

 

Capacity

 

  • International Growth: Successful OER projects tend to have a relatively small scale and have not widely spread to other institutions, regions, countries. Using key projects as models for scaling is a major opportunity for our movement. At the international level, it is important to build foundations of the OER movement by examining local needs and priorities, and then using and adapting best practices, advice and tools from existing projects and experiences. What cannot be copied is a strong community to support OER locally, though lessons learned from creating movements in countries around the world can serve as a starting point.
  • National Mainstreaming: Multiple projects prove sustainability and benefits of OER, but OER has still not entered the mainstream at a global scale. In countries with relatively developed OER activities, we need to shift from a narrow OER community to the broad education community, by addressing broader values and needs of educators. It is crucial to develop, at national level, an integrated set of activities that combines policy work, content production and assembly, community building, etc. into a holistic model for OER growth.
  • Institutionalization: The long term sustainability of OER depends on institutions becoming not only the creators and users of OER, but also the complete support systems behind it. Efforts to embed OER in teacher training, professional development, student orientation, information literacy, tenure and promotion, and other relevant institutional processes will help build this capacity.
    • Open as an Aspect of Digital in Education: The Paris Declaration sees OER as an aspect and key element of digital education. OER can be successfully introduced if merged with IT in education initiatives – and vice-versa, digital education strategies are more sound, effective and sustainable if they include the OER model.

 

  • Government Funding: Governments are the largest potential source for funding that can bring OER to scale. In many cases they are already spending money directly on course materials, or on programs that create course materials. We need strategies such as open license funding requirements that will redirect some or all of that money to OER.
  • Improve Movement-Wide Coordination: Members of the movement are doing effective, impactful work, but there is a lack of coordination between segments of the movement that may have similar or complementary aims. Increasing communication and coordination among groups within the movement can help accelerate progress through shared best practices, improve efficiency by avoiding duplication of efforts, and amplify impact by identifying areas of synergy and common messages. This could take the shape of a lateral network that connects various nodes, not a top-down or time-intensive requirement. The goal is not to stop people from doing good work, but rather to insure that the work being done is amplified and built upon for better service to the movement as a whole.
  • Connect With Other Open Movements: Movements for openness in research publishing, science, data, software, and other areas are pursuing similar goals and face similar challenges. While some areas of OER are beginning to forge ties, a more deliberate effort to coordinate messages and actions will help build a stronger and broader open movement that benefits us all.

 

 

Next Steps

 

This document is a synthesis of discussions held during the initial strategy meeting in Washington, DC and feedback received from the OER community through conferences, meetings and sharing this document. We invite the global OER community to share their feedback on any aspect of the document, and particularly welcome feedback on our assessment of the state of OER and the broad priorities of the open education movement. Our aim is to create a document and related activities that support the community to engage in conversations about effective strategies for the adoption of OER, and to promote better coordination between different segments of the community so that we can better support each other.

 

For the immediate future, we would like to focus the conversations within the OER community. We encourage you to share this document and hold conversations in your OER networks, conferences, seminars and meet-ups. Our goal is to end with a document that is a useful foundation for effective strategy development.

 

 



 

WORD.doc text

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IYDeAmw3aMxuqpfEr_7BEwM5FJiqqX1S4dzPJZQqwTY/edit
Draft 1.1 Updated: June 15, 2015
Foundations for OER Strategy Development
Drafting committee members: Nicole Allen, Delia Browne, Mary Lou Forward, Cable Green and Alek Tarkowski
Purpose of Document

For more than a decade the movement for Open Educational Resources (OER) has evolved from a collection of small, localized efforts to a broad international network of institutions, organizations, practitioners, advocates and funders. While significant progress has been made on both expanding the availability of OER content and expanding its use, OER has not reached its full potential of entering mainstream education on a global scale.

The goals and broader vision for OER are outlined in foundational documents including the Cape Town Declaration and Paris Declaration. These documents are critical for communicating the case for OER to the outside world and providing a unifying voice for the movement. But while the goals for OER are clear and broadly agreed upon by the movement, the means and strategies for achieving them are not. To actualize the full vision of OER, a need has emerged for a document that looks inward and addresses strategic questions about how we, as the global OER movement, can reach our goals.

The purpose of this document is to provide a concise analysis of where the global OER movement currently stands: what the common threads are, where the greatest opportunities and challenges lie, and how we can more effectively work together as a community. The first draft was born from a meeting of 26 OER leaders in February 2015. We then shared this document and had multiple discussion with members of the international OER community at the 2015 Hewlett OER grantees meeting, OER15, and Open Ed Global 2015. Comments from all three meetings were integrated into this draft document.

Our hope is that this document will serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. We also hope that this document, and the strategies within, will evolve as the conversation evolve to provide useful insight for both global coordination and local action.

State of the Movement

The OER movement consists of diverse individuals and organizations spanning educational institutions, IGOs, NGOs, and activities at all levels, from teaching infants to seniors; and a diversity of countries around the globe, with varied educational systems and social, economic and cultural contexts. The diversity of our perspectives, resources, and capacities is one of our movement’s great strengths, but it can also make strategy conversations challenging, as these discussions must start with a shared sense of what the strategy hopes to achieve. While the movement generally can agree upon the goals and vision outlined in the Cape Town and Paris Declarations, the specific missions and priorities of community members vary widely.

The common thread that seems to unite the movement is a belief in expanding the adoption of OER. While there are different visions for the specific practices, impacts, and audiences to be served and supported by expanding OER, we can all agree more or less on what OER is, and that widespread use of OER is a positive and necessary change in education. Given this common understanding, strategies can grow out of identifying the common challenges and opportunities around OER, and developing a shared sense of priority about what kind of actions will help advance the proliferation of OER development and use.

We Have Similar Perspectives On

· Definition of OER: The movement broadly agrees on the definition of OER as put forth by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation or UNESCO, noting that there may be some differences around which specific licenses qualify as OER (such as those restricting commercial use). However, the general understanding that OER must be both free for students and teachers to access and to legally modify is widely accepted.
· Overall Vision: The Cape Town and Paris Declarations each outline aspirational visions and goals for actualizing the potential of OER. While community members may place more emphasis or priority on some elements over others, in general the movement agrees that these documents form the basis for what we are hoping to accomplish.
· Necessity of OER Adoption: While members of the community hold different goals for OER use, and different perspectives on the aspects of OER that are most important, we are united in asserting that OER adoption is necessary to actualize its potential. We understand adoption as a two-step process: people adopting OER instead of non-open resources, and people taking advantage of the rights and permissions granted by OER, to use and reuse content.
· OER Ecosystem: We also agree that as preconditions of OER adoption, three elements are necessary:
o Demand: Awareness of OER and the motivation to use it.
o Supply: Infrastructure in terms of OER content and the tools to find, use, and adapt it.
o Capacity: Community and systemic support that will sustain OER.
· General Value Proposition: OER makes education accessible and expands the universe of what’s possible in education by allowing the 5Rs (reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, retain), and amplifying educators’ agency by increasing choices around content usage.
· Licensing Standard: There is general recognition that Creative Commons licenses (excluding those with an ND restriction) are the standard way to license content as OER, where licensing is required.

We Have Various Perspectives On

Most Important Strategic Goal of OER

There are many strategic goals of OER, and while we generally agree that all of them are important, members of the movement place priority on different aspects. Some of the most typical strategic goals of OER are:

· Reducing barriers to education, including access, cost, language and format.
· Transforming teaching and learning and enabling effective pedagogy.
· Enabling the free access to and reuse of expressions of human knowledge, in all of its forms.
· Enhancing educational opportunities to foster development and more productive, free societies.
· Re-professionalizing teaching.
· Connecting communities of educators around open content.
· Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of public funds spent on education.
· Expanding internet and digital technologies in education.

Extent of Market Penetration Necessary to Consider OER a “Success”

There are varied opinions about what extent of OER adoption is necessary for our model to achieve success:

· Disrupting the educational materials and services market so that it flips to OER as the default model for resource production.
· Shifting public funding models to pay for publishing services, rather than paying for individual copies of textbooks.
· Mainstreaming OER among educators so it competes with the traditional publishing model in terms of reach and use.
· Sufficient quantity of high quality OER necessary to provide choice.

Top Strategic Priorities for OER

Taking into account the strategic goals listed above, we can define several leading actions to achieve them. While the movement can agree that all of these actions are important, there is no consensus on which one is the top priority. Some of the top priorities are:

· Build OER content to fill gaps in key disciplines or contexts and enable productive reuse, including openly licensed assessment items and openly licensed competency maps and lists of learning outcomes.
· Develop and implement open licensing policies that require public and foundation funded educational resources are openly licensed (CC BY license preferred) by default.
· Create and communicate effective research studies in conjunction with OER development and use.
· Grow and foster communities that support, in a grassroots manner, the development and mainstreaming of OER.
· Develop models or strategies for OER adoption, development and/or evaluation that can be replicated in other contexts.
· Build key tools that enable more effective development, management, discovery and reuse.
· Broadening our focus to include the practices of educators that can be achieved with a shift to open resources, for example, open pedagogy, open assessment, open credentials, etc.
· Better communications about the value of OER.
· Scale OER in a specific sector, i.e. K-12, higher education, workforce development, lifelong learning, etc.

Movement Strengths

The OER movement has achieved multiple victories and successes. Among the most important ones are:

· Breadth of Content: Over years, different projects have tested and developed a wide range of open resources that prove to be high quality, cost-effective, effective in supporting learning and sustainable. The types of resources include content repositories, textbooks, and courses. Resources span all levels of education from early childhood to adult, and cover manifold topics and subject areas.
· Strong Policy Models: Successful OER advocacy has led to the design and deployment of policies supporting OER production and use, at different levels: school, city, national and international. Policies have also been developed by private educational foundations and private companies. Together, they provide a broad template that can be adapted and reused.
· Collective Impact: Coalitions have been proven to be successful in promoting OER, advocating for policies and achieving change. They provide for a strong legitimization by a collective voice of varied actors with interest in education: non-governmental organisations, public institutions and individual activists.
· Growing Ties with the Open Movement: OER activism is part of a broader open movement is benefitting from growing ties with advocates of open science, open data, free and open source software, open culture and/or open government. For example, students and young researchers think about OER and Open Access (OA) together; librarians with good understanding of OA are a growing force supporting OER; and OER policies are strengthened by including them in broader open government policies.
· Individual Champions: Significant successes in OER are often attributed to passionate, persevering champions, particularly in the policy and adoption arenas. Such individuals are able to achieve significant change almost single-handedly. They’re especially important when their experience and knowledge can be multiplied, by building collaborations, mentorship models, and networks with other activists.
· Global Reach and Significance: OER has been recognised by key international organizations active in education, and has support at institutions across the globe.
· Supportive Research: Key projects and scholars have been conducting research on OER and its impacts, and the breadth and depth of this research continues to grow.

Movement Challenges

Challenges include both external (conditions in greater educational environment) and internal
(issues within the OER movement). Not all challenges are present in every national or local context, but many themes arise frequently in strategy conversations, including:

· Linear Rate of Growth: Momentum is building, but adoptions are still primarily happening on a one-by-one basis, and we’re still piloting and proving one example at a time. While pilots often prove successful, the models rarely end up being replicated or brought to scale. For full impact to be realized, growth needs to be exponential rather than linear, both within national contexts and internationally.
· Absence of Standards: Other segments of the open movement have standardized models, such as the “green” and “gold” routes for Open Access or the 5 Star Open Data standard. The OER movement employs standardized open licenses, yet we lack still lack a single standard or unified message that is applicable around the globe. This is in part due to the diversity of the education sector, which spans education from infants to the elderly, and employs a variety of resources and tools. This is also due to a large variance between local and national autonomy of education, especially at primary and secondary levels, and variations in systems from country to country. Finally, use and reuse practices are crucial in education, as well as personalised approaches to learning – these don’t standardize easily. However, in order for OER to scale, some standards or standard pathways are needed.
· Insufficient Awareness: Awareness of OER is still very low. This is true both in terms of understanding that OER exists as an alternative to currently used materials, and a deeper understanding of the benefits, quality, and potential innovations that can happen when it is adopted.
· Difficulty of Discovery, Use and Remix: OER discovery, curation and re-use are often laborious and complicated. This is a consistent challenge across the commons. Repositories are varied and do not have shared search terms and metadata. Materials are presented in a wide variety of formats. Tools to assist with remix, curation and reuse are insufficient, not well known, and/or are not themselves open.
· Inconsistent Breadth and Depth: OER supply is uneven across subject areas and disciplines. Some OER is very complete, while others are little more than links or shells. This can undermine the impacts of awareness raising and slow down momentum if people who want to adopt OER don’t have OER to adopt.
· Lack of Evidence: A persistent area of frustration for OER supporters is the lack of compelling, locally-relevant evidence for the impact of OER. This includes research demonstrating efficacy and illustrative case studies. Just as important is a better understanding of contextual variables that affect OER adoption and impact, such as educator practices, and the ways resources and IT are employed in education.
· Questions About Sustainability: Business models, public funding models for supporting OER continue to develop, with numerous case studies of each. However, there are still questions surrounding long-term sustainability and the ability for OER to “stick” in the marketplace without philanthropic support.
· Minimal Evidence of Reuse: Potential for reuse is one of the key arguments OER advocates use to promote their model; using OER can make teachers and students into active creators and collaborators, while resources become dynamic and improve over time. Yet we don’t have enough compelling testimonials, case studies or evidence that this is taking place, nor have we connected this advantage to a broader problem that stakeholders care about. Cultural and legal barriers can also stand in the way.
· All or Nothing Thinking. Many of the faculty and teachers who do evaluate OER look for a single resource to replace their existing textbook (which is also a single resource). If they can’t find a single resource that satisfies their needs they are likely to continue using their proprietary textbook. Faculty and teachers need help understanding that OER are designed to mix and match pieces from a range of sources – they are designed to be revised and remixed. If faculty cannot move beyond the “adopt a book” mentality of the previous 100 years the potential of OER will likely go unfulfilled.
· Poor Branding: In recent years, the term “open” is used in education ever more widely, with a variety of meanings. It gives opportunity to bring OER into a broader educational debate – but with several definitions of “open”, educators and learners are understandably confused. We are at risk of others “openwashing” OER. At the same time, paradoxically, the term OER is little known, difficult and technical – not a perfect educational “buzzword”.
· Perfect as an Enemy of the Good: It is critical to maintain a strong definition of OER to avoid “openwashing,” but this can also create a dynamic where efforts that take a step in the right direction, but do not meet our definition, are excluded and not given recognition.
· Lack of OER heroes: Mainstreaming OER requires stories that make people pay attention – exciting and engaging enough to make them interested in a relatively challenging subject that combines pedagogy, technology and law. We have good stories, but not great ones. Some of the really big stories in modern, digital education, such as Khan Academy and MOOCs, are at best ambivalent about open.

Opportunities

Many opportunities exist for advancing OER, both in new ways and by expanding on opportunities that have already proven successful. We have organized the opportunities below based on the three components necessary for OER adoption: demand (awareness and motivation to use OER), supply (content and tools to use it), and capacity (community and systemic support for sustainability). These opportunities identify key places where the OER movement can intervene to help advance OER, and are intended to provide a useful starting point for developing strategies.
Demand

· Increase Awareness: It is essential to raise awareness of OER as an option, both as an alternative to proprietary materials (and publishers’ new lease-not-own models) and also in new markets underserved by traditional publishers. Also, there is a significant awareness opportunity within populations already using openly licensed materials without fully realizing that is OER or that they can exercise 5R rights.
· Build Evidence Base: Improve the body of evidence showing the positive impacts of OER, focusing on contexts where OER presents an especially critical solution to a problem. This includes efficacy research that looks at key areas such as improved learning outcomes, business models, innovative reuse, improving equity, and cost savings. It also includes compelling case studies and stories that illustrate the impacts.
· Improve Communications: Build a stronger case for OER to strengthen its branding and value proposition. Be more active in communicating by developing resources, coordinating messages, and working with other segments of the open movement. Consider the key target audiences of OER, and tailor resources to reach those audiences. Assets such as compelling human stories, infographics, and plain language resources will be key.
· Embed OER In the Teaching Profession: Take advantage of ready-made pathways for instructors to become aware of and learn to effectively use OER. In the short term, this could be linking OER with professional development activities that educational systems already conduct. In the long term, this would be integrating OER into teacher training and teacher prep programs.
· Engage Key Constituencies: OER adoption is not just about engaging the teachers, schools and policymakers who make resource decisions. Other constituencies, particularly librarians and students, can play a key role in helping to catalyze and support these decision makers. Librarians are experts at finding, curating and sharing resources. This community wasn’t originally deeply engaged in OER, but has increasingly become involved. Students are also key as the beneficiaries of education, and also the largest constituency in terms of numbers. Students can also be mobilized to drive demand and as a catalyst for action. Other key constituencies include copyright officers and instructional designers.
· Empower the grassroots: Without grassroots support from educators, OER policies will never fulfill their potential. In particular, the promise of re-use cannot be met without the engagement of users with open resources.
· Coordinate Demand With Supply: Focus on building demand in areas where supply exists.

Supply

· Focus on Productization: OER is easier to adopt when it is presented as a “turnkey” solution that is ready to use immediately without extra work, particularly in developed markets. Meeting the expectation of convenience that teachers and faculty have come to expect from traditional materials can help OER adoption spread on a faster and wider scale. Once practitioners are using OER in a familiar form, more work can be done to support their exploration of innovative remixing and use. Why? Leave it to faculty choice. Those that remix do not need encouragement andthose that want the full package are ok. Thereis nothing intrinsically better about remixing.
· Develop Strategic Tools: While building tools alone is not enough to solve problems, there are some central challenges that can be removed through strategic, interoperable tools to support the OER lifecycle: development, management, discoverability and reuse. The most immediate need to support adoption is tools for the effective discoverability of OER, but also tools that enable users to fulfill the promise of OER in terms of creation, licensing, reuse and remix for teachers and students.
· Build Supply to Meet Demand: The movement has learned that the “build it and they will come” philosophy is not successful for OER. It is more effective to prioritize building OER in areas where there is high potential for large scale adoptions, both in terms of the number of students served and the potential for institutional commitment and resources to support OER development and use.
· Accessibility: The flexibility offered by the 5Rs offers significant benefits over traditional materials in terms of Accessibility for students with disabilities. This benefit can be leveraged when creating supply, to demonstrate the benefits in contexts where Accessibility is important.
· Open Up Existing Platforms and Resources: Evangelizing open can help turn existing services and resources into OER. This is a key, alternative tactic to creating new, open resources. This allows our movement to benefit from already existing resources, networks and communities, once they are made open.
· Learners as Creators: Inherent in open pedagogies and open educational practices is the idea of students as creators. If harnessed effectively, engaging students in the development, improvement and assessment of content could help drive the supply side of the market.

Capacity

· International Growth: Successful OER projects tend to have a relatively small scale and have not widely spread to other institutions, regions, countries. Using key projects as models for scaling is a major opportunity for our movement. At the international level, it is important to build foundations of the OER movement by examining local needs and priorities, and then using and adapting best practices, advice and tools from existing projects and experiences. What cannot be copied is a strong community to support OER locally, though lessons learned from creating movements in countries around the world can serve as a starting point.
· National Mainstreaming: Multiple projects prove sustainability and benefits of OER, but OER has still not entered the mainstream at a global scale. In countries with relatively developed OER activities, we need to shift from a narrow OER community to the broad education community, by addressing broader values and needs of educators. It is crucial to develop, at national level, an integrated set of activities that combines policy work, content production and assembly, community building, etc. into a holistic model for OER growth.
· Institutionalization: The long term sustainability of OER depends on institutions becoming not only the creators and users of OER, but also the complete support systems behind it. Efforts to embed OER in teacher training, professional development, student orientation, information literacy, tenure and promotion, and other relevant institutional processes will help build this capacity.
· Open as an Aspect of Digital in Education: The Paris Declaration sees OER as an aspect and key element of digital education. OER can be successfully introduced if merged with IT in education initiatives – and vice-versa, digital education strategies are more sound, effective and sustainable if they include the OER model.
· Government Funding: Governments are the largest potential source for funding that can bring OER to scale. In many cases they are already spending money directly on course materials, or on programs that create course materials. We need strategies such as open license funding requirements that will redirect some or all of that money to OER.
· Improve Movement-Wide Coordination: Members of the movement are doing effective, impactful work, but there is a lack of coordination between segments of the movement that may have similar or complementary aims. Increasing communication and coordination among groups within the movement can help accelerate progress through shared best practices, improve efficiency by avoiding duplication of efforts, and amplify impact by identifying areas of synergy and common messages. This could take the shape of a lateral network that connects various nodes, not a top-down or time-intensive requirement. The goal is not to stop people from doing good work, but rather to insure that the work being done is amplified and built upon for better service to the movement as a whole.
· Connect With Other Open Movements: Movements for openness in research publishing, science, data, software, and other areas are pursuing similar goals and face similar challenges. While some areas of OER are beginning to forge ties, a more deliberate effort to coordinate messages and actions will help build a stronger and broader open movement that benefits us all.

Next Steps

This document is a synthesis of discussions held during the initial strategy meeting in Washington, DC and feedback received from the OER community through conferences, meetings and sharing this document. We invite the global OER community to share their feedback on any aspect of the document, and particularly welcome feedback on our assessment of the state of OER and the broad priorities of the open education movement. Our aim is to create a document and related activities that support the community to engage in conversations about effective strategies for the adoption of OER, and to promote better coordination between different segments of the community so that we can better support each other.

For the immediate future, we would like to focus the conversations within the OER community. We encourage you to share this document and hold conversations in your OER networks, conferences, seminars and meet-ups. Our goal is to end with a document that is a useful foundation for effective strategy development.

 


 

Downes and Wiley A Conversation on Open Educational Resources.doc

 

 

 

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