OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly

Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, Feb 07, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A really nice post from Tony Bates on open educational resources (OERs). The theme is 'the good, the bad and the ugly' and we'll get to that, but first, a nod to the motherhood statement ("open is good") and a caveat: "the word 'hypocrisy' keeps coming to mind when I hear wealthy institutions pounding their chests for ‘giving away' content that either the public through taxes or students through fees have already paid for, while their fees are such that they exclude all but the rich from their own programs and the accreditation that open content does not provide." He had me hooked with that.

Now for the three themes:
- the good: open content is good, but it is not learning, and is best used by students as part of a wider range of educational activities, or by teachers within a broader program context
- the bad: learning resources that amount to content dumps (examples provides); "Content needs not only to be contextualized but also adapted for independent or distance learning."
- the ugly: " the lack of design or adaptation to make it suitable for independent or distance study or for third party use. It is as if 40 years of research on effective practice in distance learning has all been for nothing."
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