One business case for OER examined

Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, May 14, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Tony Bates looks at the most recent edition of Distance Education and in particular at an article focused on the business case for open educational resources. The case, in a nutshell, is that people can use open access to decide whether they want to invest time and money in a particular program. This of course is a very old argument, and it's rooted firmly in the institutional perspective, as it becomes a 'business case' only when these same students start paying tuition fees. "Without that funding, and other costs, OpenLearn will quickly become unsustainable." Well - no. It's a policy decision to require colleges and universities to earn revenues from their users. Many other government services do no such thing. The only real business case, to my mind, is whether the intended benefit of the institution is being delivered. Tuition impedes that benefit, just as the subscription fees charged by Distance Education impede that benefit.
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