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Open Educational Resources (OER) Opportunities for Ontario
Contact North [corporate]

PublishedOctober 2011
PublisherContact North
CountryCanada, North America

Openness is the breath of life for education and research.

The growing movement to provide open educational resources (OER)* for post-secondary institutions is an exciting one that holds much promise for higher education in general and for today’s Ontario in particular. A natural partner to online learning, it has the potential to be an important component
of ongoing efforts to enhance the overall learning experience for students pursuing college or university credentials and provide them more flexibility and reduced expenses, broaden accessibility, improve quality, revitalize university and college teaching, encourage cross-institutional collaboration and more effective use of educational resources.

At the same time, as the latest in a long series of “movements” in education, it is not yet well known or understood. Even though its principles are consistent with long-standing academic traditions, it can seem counterintuitive to institutional leaders and faculty members to share intellectual property freely in times of enhanced competition among colleges and universities. Efforts to adopt OER on a major scale may also fall short of expectations simply because beleaguered college and university executives and faculty members are preoccupied with workload and resource issues and don’t see OER strategies as part of an effective way to address them.
Here, we set out the case for OER and how their adoption can benefit all the key stakeholders in post-secondary education in Ontario. We then consider the challenges that such changes pose for the various groups and suggest ways that these can be met.

Links to original sources for a more thorough scrutiny of the OER movement around the world are included throughout the text.

Keywords higher education · OER · OER movement · Ontario

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