The Obstacles to OER

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Oct 26, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm using this post in a talk I'm giving next week so it seems only fair to list it here. Audrey Watters lists four major obstacles to using OERs: discoverability, supplementary materials, licensing issues, and technological formats. These are problems from the perspective of designers and instructors; it seems to me in addition relevant to list difficulties faced by students as well, ranging from the presentation of OERs in a static (traditional course) format, to compatibility issues (bandwidth, format, language), to relevance, to the emphasis on consumption (as opposed to creativity). These obstacles, interestingly (and this is what I will say next week) lead toward the design of the loose network of resources constituting a MOOC, as opposed to the tight integration of resources characterizing a traditional course.

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