Students and OERs: Exploring the possibilities

Lorna Campbell, International Journal of Information and Education Technology, Mar 27, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This post is a summary of a presentation from Toni Pearce, vice-president (further education) for Britain's National Union of Students. I have no doubt that her comments are reflective of the opinions of students, but reading them makes me want to dissolve 'students' as a distinct category for research and opinion on learning technology and policy. Take this: "Students are conservative in their use of OERs. Many do use OERs but they are more likely to use them if they are used as part of course or recommended by lecturer." I'm sure that's true. But (from that perspective) the value of OERs is to people who are not students - people who haven't paid tuition and have easy access to a lecturer. Using 'students' a the demographic voice of record inherently biases our sample toward a self-selected socio-economic elite with privileged access to learning resources.

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