Introduction to Open Education Resources (OER)
So this semester I'm teaching a course at Idaho State University on Open Education Resources. The course is actually entitled Trends and Issues in Instructional Design & Technology, but what that really means is that we can teach on any topic we find relevant at the moment. Last year, we did a content analysis of TechTrends, an AECT journal that seeks to "[link] research and practice to improve learning." It was a good experience; we've almost got the journal article ready to go.
This year I decided to teach it on OER. It's a relevant topic, and a lot of folks are looking to cut costs in education. OER is a great place to start.
Now I'm a lucky guy. I've come to know a lot of folks over the course of my (now) twenty-five year career. And one of the people I've known the longest is Dr. David Wiley. I can remember working the technology volunteer pool at AECT with David when we were both graduate students.
Well, David has gone on to become a BIG DEAL. First he made his name working on the concept of reusable learning objects, but where he has really made his mark is in OER. I mean, he's THE guy. He's been a tenured faculty member at two universities, and he's the co-founder of Lumen Learning.
When I contacted David and told him that I was teaching a class on OER, not only did he say that he would visit my class (virtually), but he also offered up all his course materials he uses when he teaches OER. And of course, it's all available and licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license.
For the first week, my students had to watch a video of David's TED talk:
Now, I'm painfully aware that my students had to watch the video and respond on their own blogs to the following prompts:
In your blog post, you should react to Dr. Wiley's overall message about OER. What do you agree with? What did he say that gives you pause? What made you THINK? What follow-up questions would you like to ask him about the presentation?
And I'm going to try to follow their assignments as well (sometimes). But this time, I just want to say this: David's work has had an impact on me, and by extension, my students. I haven't used textbooks in years, and I strive to either write my own content or find free and open resources online to supplement. I just remember sitting with David at the AECT Summer Research Symposium and David turned to me and said, "How can you expect someone to PAY for KNOWLEDGE?" It struck a chord with me.
And that's a large part of why I do what I do.
Thanks, David, for thinking about these things, and in turn, making me think and opening my eyes.