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Who will guarantee the quality of OER?

This question is possibly reflective of a deeply entrenched notion of educational materials as being 'publications', the quality of which is controlled by educational publishers. This notion has been - and remains - valid but reflects a partial understanding of the scope and diversity of educational materials used in many teaching and learning contexts. It also reflects a false delegation of responsibility for quality to a third party. This mindset shifts into the OER space in the form of an unstated assumption that one or more dedicated agencies should take full responsibility for assuring that OER shared in repositories online are of a high quality. In addition to this being practically impossible, it masks the reality that the definition of quality is subjective and contextually dependent.

In the final analysis, responsibility for assuring the quality of OER used in teaching and learning environments will reside with the institution, programme/course coordinators, and individual educators responsible for delivery of education. As they have always done when prescribing textbooks, choosing a video to screen, or using someone else's lesson plan, these agents are the ones who retain final responsibility for choosing which materials - open and/or proprietary - to use. Thus, the 'quality of OER' will depend on which resources they choose to use, how they choose to adapt them to make them contextually relevant, and how they integrate them into teaching and learning activities of different kinds.

This task of assuring quality has been complicated by the explosion of available content (both open and proprietary). This is both a blessing, as it reduces the likelihood of needing to develop new content, and a curse, as it demands higher level skills in information searching, selection, adaptation, and evaluation. As institutions share more educational content online, they will want to ensure that this content reflects well on the institution and may thus invest in improving its quality before making it available in repositories. In the OER environment, quality assurance will thus be assisted by the development of such repositories, which will provide at least first levels of quality assurance.

But these investments on the part of institutions will simply serve, over time, to create more opportunities for finding good materials to use. The primary responsibility for finding the right materials to use, and for using them to support effective education, still resides with the institutions and educators offering the education.

Taken from A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


ICDE OERAC publishes Open Innovation Framework report
March 30, 2022
This report titled “Open Innovation Framework: Emerging Narratives from the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee”, written by the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC), addresses Open Educational Resources and Open Science through a proposed framework for Open Innovation. It includes a summary and outputs from a workshop hosted by the committee during the ICDE Virtual Global Conference Week in October 2021. Open Innovation Framework: Emerging Narratives from the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee ...

Two new publications from the Commonwealth of Learning
March 22, 2022
The Commonwealth of Learning has published two new OER-related reports: Open Educational Resources in the Commonwealth 2021 reports on the status of OER in the Commonwealth in the context of the challenges posed by Covid-19 to help countries develop strategies and action plans for the implementation of the 2019 UNESCO Recommendation on OER. Integrating OER in Teaching: A Guide for Teachers in the Pacific , developed as part of the Pacific Partnership for Open, Distance and Flexible Learning Project, is intended to assist teachers in the Pacific to integrate OER into their teaching. ...

New book: An Introduction to Open Education
December 19, 2021
This open-access edited volume published by EdTech Books features chapters by leading and emerging authors and researchers in the field of open education and open educational resources. Sections include the foundations of OE and OER, current research including open textbooks and dashboards, obstacles in the use of OER and open scholarship, and future directions such as open pedagogy. The appendices include several student presentations as slides and videos that can themselves be used as open educational resources. Edited by Yvette Arts, Hannah Call, Melissa Cavan, Theresa P. Holmes, Jacob Rogers, Sara H. Tuiloma, Layne West, and Royce Kimmons. ...

Launch of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources
April 7, 2021
The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University Washington College of Law has released its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources. This document is intended to support authors, teachers, professors, librarians, and all open educators in evaluating when and how they can incorporate third party copyright materials into Open Educational Resources to meet their pedagogical goals. Click here for the report's Cloud record and downloadable Code of Best Practices. ...

2020-21 OA diamond journals study released
March 30, 2021
From June 2020 to February 2021, a consortium of 10 organisations undertook a large-scale study on open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as "OA diamond journals". This study was commissioned by cOAlition S in order to gain a better understanding of the OA diamond landscape. The study undertook a statistical analysis of several bibliographic databases, surveyed 1,619 journals, collected 7,019 free text submissions and other data from 94 questions, and organised three focus groups with 11 journals and 10 interviews with hosting platforms. It collected 163 references in the academic literature, and inventoried 1048 journals not listed in DOAJ. The key findings of the study are: a wide archipelago of relatively small journals is serving diverse communities; OA diamond journals are on the road to full compliance with Plan S; a mix of scientific strengths and operational challenges; and an economy that largely depends on volunteers, universities and government. Click here for the study's Cloud record and downloadable Findings and Recommendations. ...