OER, Toothbrushes, and Value

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Mar 01, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

David Wiley compares the distribution of OERs to the distribution of toothbrushes. "The analogy highlights the fact that each individual who encounters OER must still choose to engage in actions made possible by this increased capacity." Well maybe. Of course, a comprehensive evaluation program would cost more than the toothbrushes themselves, especially when you have to take into account the many other factors - fluoridation, sugar consumption, genetics - implicated in dental health. You don't have to evaluate everything you do. If the government wants to go evaluate the impact of something, let it focus on the improved economy, health or education it gets for new F35 fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, let OERs be like toothbrushes - we distribute them without a whole lot of fuss and overhead because (a) they're not harmful, (b) they're dirt cheap, and (c) we know that, if people use them, they will be helpful.
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