Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ On the Relationship Between Adopting OER and Improving Student Outcomes

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

To be honest, I think David Wiley is pursuing a straw man when he argues that open educational resources (OER) have no impact on improving student learning. Indeed, it feel like he is arguing mostly against his own past work. It has never been the purpose to OER to improve student learning; the objective is to improve access to learning for people who have none. That's why (as Wiley himself admits) studying the effectiveness of OER in existing university classes is like "the equivalent of measuring the effect of a pain relieving drug on a sample of people who are mostly not in pain." But to people without access, Wiley argues, OER is only a small part of the mix - after all, he says, only 27 percent of students surveyed indicate that they don't but the textbook. Sure. But nearly 100 percent of those without access to the university class don't buy the textbook. And it's true - these people can access the "billions of resources which are freely available on the public internet with the same result vis-à-vis the access hypothesis" and are not technically OER. But that has always been (part of) my point (contra Wiley) about there being no need to be a license purist to achieve the benefits of open access. But mainly, Wiley here says nothing, and seems to care nothing, about the outcomes of those people not fortunate enough to make it into a university class. That's why he has failed, after all these years, to see the actual benefit of OER.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 21, 2024 1:06 p.m.

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