As part of a panel discussion at OpenEd16 conference on the future of Open Educational Resources I was asked to write an article. As we all know it is difficult to make predictions especially about the future.
This excersise has resulted 15 interesting articles about the future of OER by David Kernohan, Mary Lou Forward, Martin Weller & Patrick McAndrew, TJ Bliss, Paul Stacey, Mike Smith, Karen Willcox & Luwen Huang, Katsusuke Shigeta & Tomohiro Nagashima, Una Daly, Lorna Campbell, Cathy Casserly, Cable Creen, Stephen Downes, Andy Lane and myself. The articles are all published on www.futuoer.org.
Below is the article I submitted.
From Open Education to Open Science
Fifteen years ago MIT took a big leap by introducing OpenCourseWare. In the intervening years, many universities have followed their steps in the world of Open Education. In 2007 the Delft University of Technology launched their OpenCourseWare website. In 2010 we shared our course materials through iTunesU, and in 2013 we joined edX to publish openMOOCs.
The first ten years were mostly focused on the creation of more open resources. Over the last five years, the focus has shifted towards adoption. We are concentrating on the move from Open Educational Resources (OER) to Open Educational Practice (OEP).
Converge and diverge
The adoption of OER has been slow and painful. Over the last two years, the US and Europe have adopted different strategies to adopt Open Education. Respectively, these two strategies are to converge and diverge. The US converged towards a specific part of OER, Open Textbooks, and has had a lot of success with this strong focus on cost savings for students. In Europe the focus is diverging towards open science, which is a much broader process of opening up universities.
Often OpenScience is defined as the combination of Open Source, Open Data, Open Access, Open Education and more. More importantly, it is the movement to make scientific research, data, and dissemination (including education) accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional (Wikipedia, 2016). OpenScience is much more of a change in behavior than the adoption of a tool. For the European Commission, OpenScience, along with Open Innovation and Open to the World, are priorities for the next couple of years (European Commission, 2016).
Both strategies have their strong points. The US strategy will have the biggest impact in the short run, but doesn’t necessarily lead to a change in behavior. The EU strategy has more of a long-term focus, and will likely have a much broader impact on society.
Europe can learn a lot from the successes of the US strategy and should adopt them to fit into the European context. The US can learn from the long-term strategy of OpenScience.
Open Education has a bright future if it aligns with the broader movement of OpenScience to realize a cultural change in behavior which society at large can benefit from.
- European Commission (2016). Open innovation, Open Science, open to the world. A vision for Europe. Brussels: European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. ISBN: 978-92-79-57346-0 DOI: 10.2777/061652. Available at: http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world-pbKI0416263/
- Wikipedia (2016). OpenScience. Retrieved on Oct 5th, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_science
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