Supporting Capacity Building as OER Use Enters Mainstream
For over two years now I’ve been working full-time with the incredible folks at Lumen Learning on supporting faculty adoption of open educational resources. (Time really does fly when you’re having fun!) As indicated in the subtitle of our #OpenEd14 presentation – “still bumbling our way toward greatness” – we’ve made plenty of mistakes and learned lots of lessons along the way, and there’s no reason why others should bumble down unproductive paths we’ve already traversed.
I’m currently engaged in the process of capturing, synthesizing, and summarizing these years of lessons learned into a framework of guidelines and best practices for designing courses using OER. We’re calling it the “5R Open Course Design Framework.” The first version will be published in January 2015 and will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC BY) for use and adaptation by anyone and everyone. Lumen Learning will also offer training, professional development, and a course review service associated with the framework.
I’m particularly excited about the professional development aspect of this work, as it will help individuals and organizations build capacity around the effective use of OER. No single organization or group of organizations will ever have the capacity to scale the impact of OER to its full potential. For OER to truly transform teaching and learning across primary, secondary, and postsecondary education, we have a generation of capacity building to do.
I’ve said before that the internet gives us technical capabilities unimagined in times past (zero marginal cost perfect copying, zero marginal cost distribution, extremely low cost editing and remixing, etc.), but that copyright law regulates our exercise of all these newfound capabilities – so that what is technically possible is also legally forbidden. But when educational resources are openly licensed, education suddenly gains access to the full power of the internet – everything that is technically possible becomes legally permitted. It is this future – a future in which all learners and teachers can deploy the accumulated technological advances of society in the service of learning – that hangs in the balance.
The choice by educators to continue using traditionally copyrighted educational materials is like Superman choosing to wear a ring inset with a giant kryptonite stone. Both choices deprive their respective choosers of superpowers to which they would otherwise have access.