Open Educational Resources

Michael Q. McShane, Education Next, Oct 25, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article opens as an account of the nature and history of open educational resources. But then it turns sceptical. Michael Q. McShane writes, "open resources are offered free to users, but they are not necessarily free to produce... the people who create them want to be paid for doing so." Fair enough, and for the most part creators are paid by their school, company, university or government department. The article then turns to a criticism of a (U.S.) federal government program. "It is important to examine what productive role, if any, the federal government can play in the evolution of OER... the federal government is putting its thumb on the scale for one particular type of content-creation mechanism, and that could disrupt the marketplace." This presumption that there is some 'natural' state of the marketplace that is 'distorted' by government intervention is of course a fallacy, as is the presumption that the government has no business being involved in the education of its citizens.

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