Panel: Jamie Caras, David Harris, Marc T. Sher
Limited access to higher education is one the greatest challenges faced by students today. The recent economic slowdown coupled with the increasing costs of education has forced educational institutions of all levels to reevaluate the way they use their resources. As educators begin to explore ways to cut costs, they are beginning to discover that Open Educational Resources (OER) have the potential to not only drive down cost of education but also to increase its flexibility.
However, significant barriers remain: procuring and organizing OER resources can be time consuming, quality standards are inconsistent, few OER platforms inter-operate, and local awareness of OER remains low in the broader education space.
This panel will overview the current “chasm” that OER has to cross in order to reach mainstream acceptance. The panel provides the unique perspectives of an OER publisher (David Harris, Editor-in-Chief Connexions and OpenStax College), a faculty member (Prof. Marc T. Sher of the College of William and Mary), and a for-profit education service provider (Dr. Jamie Caras, President of Sapling Learning). The panel will discuss the following questions:
- What is the awareness of OER on college campuses today?
- What are the content/development requirements to achieve wide-scale adoption of OER?
- How do OER advocates effectively reach the decision makers?
- How can social media enable broader adoption of OER?
- What new cooperative ecosystem is required for financial sustainability?
- How do we develop common standards for OER?
- Can OER only compete when it’s available anywhere, at any time, on any device?
A diverse array current OER examples will be introduced to demonstrate current attempts to cross the chasm, including OpenStax College (an initiative of Connexions), Flatworld Knowlege, The Orange Grove, OCWC, stacked credential efforts, and emerging referatories. The session will conclude with a strategy discussion on ideas to propel OER into the mainstream.