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This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.

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August 2014
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Why Share Open Educational Resources?

Why would anyone want to share their course, their best ideas, their intellectual property?

Why would someone openly license their digital work with a creative commons license? According to Hilton and Wiley (2010), there are four common reasons people might be motivated to share their educational resources:

Receive Increased Exposure: sharing your work openly online allows access to many more people

― Lawrence Lessig published his book Free Culture in 2004. Although the book has sold tens of thousands copies, the free digital version has been downloaded several hundred thousand times. Perhaps more importantly, it has been translated into seven different languages, audio versions are freely available, and it has been put into sixteen different file formats. All of these translations and format changes are freely available for others to download.‖ (p. 6).

Give New Life to Out-of-Print Works: openly licensed works never go out of print

― A significant problem in the publishing world relates to orphan books (Boyle, 2008). These are books that are out-of-print, and the copyright owner of the books cannot easily be identified. As time passes the out-of-print book becomes increasingly unavailable, as publishers merge and authors change locations, it can become impossible to locate‖ (p. 7).

Improve the Quality of Educational Resources: when resources are “open” and can be reused, redistributed, revised and remixed … they can get better over time

― When an educational resource is published openly it may bring about the mechanisms of peer review (Wiley, 2009). If people know their educational resource will be viewed by others they might desire to make it better than they ordinarily would. In addition, as others use the resource they may improve it and return the revised version to the creator, who then benefits from the improvement‖ (p. 8).

― Openness has a tendency to lead to better material used in courses not only because faculty can build on other open resources, but simply because teachers can more easily see what other teachers are doing. Just as observing others teach has been shown to improve teaching (Elmore, 1997), observing the educational resources that others use in the classroom may also improves teaching. Thus OERs benefit both the teachers‖ (p. 8).

Do Some Good: sharing educational resources helps people around the world access a higher education

To get a sense of what’s possible when we share open educational resources, read the Cape Town Declaration.

― We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge.‖

Dr. Cable Green is Director of eLearning & Open Education, SBCTC.

He blogs about ―open issues at: http://blog.oer.sbctc.edu

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