Lesson Ten Reading

19. The Need to Provide a Framework to Support Open Educational Resources

The search for a pedagogical and organizational framework to support the use of open educational resources has been driven partly by the relative slowness of adoption of OER. To give a simple example, instructors are reluctant to move away from expensive commercial first-year textbooks, because these books often come with a wide range of support materials, such as interactive web sites with sample exam questions and answers, multiple-choice questions, and alternative reading. Open textbooks need to come with similar supporting materials, student activities and a wider ‘network’ of support to compete with commercial textbooks.

Paul Stacey, the Director of the Open Education Consortium, has mused (2018) that too much focus is given to licensing and content development, and not enough to collectively managing open resources so that they are sustainable and dynamic. He argues that OER, to be effective, need ‘commoning’, which reflects the management and sustainability of common, shared resources and services. He argues for:

  • A social system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity.
  • A self-organized system by which communities manage resources (both depletable and replenishable) with minimal or no reliance on the Market or State. Simply having a community and pool of resources is not enough. There needs to be a set of protocols, values, and norms devised by the community to manage its resources.

Open pedagogy could provide an important pedagogical part of such a framework, but Stacey seems to be suggesting that support needs to go beyond pedagogy to a social and management structure.