OER Challenges

From the teacher’s and the student’s point of view, the development of OER sounds all good. But there are challenges, and some people only see the down side to OER. This page looks at the OER challenges and how they can be tackled.

Access to the Internet is spreading and so more people are able to access online education.  But a major problem has been the access to affordable content. The OER movement seeks to address this issue by making content free to use and adapt by anyone. So what are the problems?

Creative Commons infographic

From Wikimedia Commons; Author: Martin Missfeldt / Bildersuche.org

The challenges that OER face include:

  • Establishing and maintaining quality;
  • Ensuring modularity of the resources;
  • Ensuring stability of the resources;
  • Standardization, so as to ensure transferability;
  • Persuading subject matter experts to release their intellectual property for open use.

Responding to the OER challenges of copyright

In response to this last major challenge, Creative Commons, a non-profit organization, was founded to assist authors who may not want to exercise all of the intellectual property rights the law affords them. Creative Commons works to define an alternative to copyrights by filling in the gap between full copyright, where use of resources is not allowed without explicit permission, and public domain, where permission is not required at all. Creative Commons Licenses allow users to copy and distribute their work under specific conditions, general descriptions, and legal clauses.

To this end, Creative Commons has developed a set of free public licenses to enable authors to share their work with others. Authors have the flexibility to specify that the use of their resources would require attribution, that it be non-commercial, or that the product be shared under the same license. Thus, while ‘open’ on the one hand can mean ‘without cost’, it does not necessarily translate to ‘without conditions’. The following is an example of the logo and text that would appear on a work using a Creative Commons license:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

More OER Websites

Click on the other resource links on this site:

List of schools and programs

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