Another look at Open Educational Resources (OERs)…

Behold “Learning in the Future”!

Illustration of 19th century classroom - imagine learning in the future

Learning in the Future (Wikipedia Commons)

I love the way they grind the books into some form of “electronic” media! Notice how the students begin getting their information via headphones. Maybe it wasn’t so far off from where things are today in regards to digital educational media.

I am always looking for open educational resources to share with faculty. There are some students who just cannot afford the high cost of textbooks and so they attempt to manage without them. Invariably, they end up either dropping or failing the course.

One of the concerns I hear about open textbooks is they do not provide for many of the ancillary materials frequently made available through publishers texts (e.g. quizzes, videos, animations, simulations, etc.).  Obviously these kinds of resources can be expensive to develop and the costs passed on to the consumer in the form of higher textbook prices.

There is an ever-increasing body of open digital and rich media being made available online. Some of the repositories for these materials have been around for several years: MIT’s OpenCourseWare,, Khan Academy, et. al. Some Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are an outgrowth of these initiatives and may provide additional high quality open content (though not always – you should probably take a closer look to ensure materials are in fact, “openly licensed”).

The Open University offers much of their high quality digital learning materials openly for use by anyone as long as the Creative Commons license is honored. The Beginner’s Spanish: Food and Drink  is an example of ancillary content that may be integrated into an introductory Spanish language course (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Happy OER hunting!


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