The National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP) makes specific mention of the current and future value of OER, recognizing that the state has a role in “expanding the availability of digital-learning content, resources, courses, and tools and ensure their continuous improvement by funding the research and development of open educational resources”.
4.3 Support the development and use of open educational resources to promote innovative and creative opportunities for all learners and accelerate the development and adoption of new open technology-based learning tools and courses.
The value of open educational resources is now recognized around the world, leading to the availability of a vast array of learning, teaching, and research resources that learners of any age can use across all content areas. Realizing this value will require new policies concerning the evaluation and selection of instructional materials so that digital resources are considered and processes are established for keeping educational resource content up to date, appropriate, and tagged according to identified content interoperability standards.
Since 2004 Board Policy 6141 of De Anza College and Foothill College sets out a commitment to supporting the production and use of open educational materials.
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District supports the creation, use, accessibility, and ongoing maintenance of public domain-based learning materials in accordance with established curriculum standarda for educational purposes of the District, using the commonly accepted legal definition of public domain materials.
The goals of this policy are to provide students with learning materials that reside in the public domain to augment and/or replace commercially available educational materials, including textbooks where appropriate, to create sustainable academic resources for students, faculty and staff, and to provide opportunities for professional growth of district employees involved in these activities.
The Chancellor will provide periodic reports, not less than annually, to the Board that detail the progress made toward accomplishing the goals delineated by this policy.
(Although the policy makes no mention of OER this is likely because the term did not exist in 2004!)
These resolutions acknowledge the potential of OER to save students money and mandates the further investigation and implementation of OER. HCR 3009 requires that:
the Legislative Management study the use of open textbooks in the North Dakota University System, including options to develop partnerships with other states to use open textbooks; and report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the Sixty-fourth Legislative Assembly
Donna Gaudet, Head of Mathematics Department at Scottsdale Community College, outlines official support for OER development:
Apart from trying to figure out ways to get other colleges to support this model, the OER steering team is also looking at the entire district’s published data about the top 25 courses by enrolment and are investigating whether there’s interest from these academics to put together OER materials. Their rationale is: take the first 3 of these 25 courses, English 102, Reading 091 and Pyschology 101, and generate interest from these faculty to put together a few course materials. The OER steering group is also looking at ways in which they can offer authors some funding for their efforts. While the amount offered will not be a lot, US$7500 per quarter per course, the message being sent out that institutionally, SCC supports faculty efforts to create and pull together OER materials…
But we have to note that one obstacle to institutionalisation of OER is fear. Fear of not being sure how to find OER or to identify where they are or to define what a good OER is . This fear causes a lot of people to be reluctant in their participation as they see that this approach requires a lot of work. The math department at Scottsdale has become a publishing house and this does require a lot of effort by a lot of people, it can’t be accomplished by one person.
In an interview with OCW consortium, Prof. Donna Gaudet of the mathematics department at Scottsdale Community College (AZ) cautions against thinking that all use of OER improves student satisfaction – although she does note that student satisfaction is unlikely to suffer.
Academics are always interested in improving student’s outcomes, but we should be careful about getting too excited when there are some small changes in student results. There are many other positive reasons for using OER, not the least saving money for students. I’m happy to say that our outcomes are at the very least the same as they were before OER was adopted.
Reflecting on outcomes from collaborative production of Math OER at Scottsdale Community College (AZ), Prof. Donna Gaudet argues that use of OER improves faculty collaboration and raises the quality of learning materials.
Most definitely. it’s one thing to put together some OER stuff for your own class and know you are never going to share it with anyone. It’s another thing to raise the bar and create materials that you know at a minimum are being used by 30 or 40 people in your department. This act of sharing within a department puts faculty under a microscope, and academics have recognised the need to present their material professionally. OER production has both necessitated and enabled the department to work together, and this collaboration has led to great satisfaction.
The recent U.S. PIRG report Fixing the Broken Textbook Market is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students from more than 150 different campuses across the USA late in 2013. They found the following:
- 65% said they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.
- Nearly half (48%) said the cost of books had an impact on how many or which classes they took.
- 94% of the students who had skipped buying a required book said they were concerned that doing this would hurt their grade in that course.
The following initiatives are OER initiatives of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science are licensed under Creative Commons. Some of them are not pure OER, but all are designed to encourage open education and free sharing of resources .
- Biblioteca Digital or Digital Library: conscious of the need to promote and make available to the educational community and the general public the content of their publications, DGIDC has developed a set of actions to make available in digital mode, the content of some of their collections, which research and consulting is accessible through its computerized catalog. The Digital Library is composed mainly by resources and edited by the DGIDC by General Directions that preceded it, and has as its main objective the provision of comprehensive works, for free reading.
- Acordo Ortográfico (AO) or Orthographic Agreement: Space where to find documents about AO and pedagogical resources. It is available for teachers, students, families and the general public.
- Internet Segura.pt or Safety Internet is a center that aims to take away from more and more the task to sensitize the Portuguese population to security issues on the Internet, hence striving to achieve a greater number of citizens. It is a space where to find documents, videos and other resources like quizzes about safe behaviors in the internet.
- GEORED (Digital Educational Resources for Teaching Geography) is a collaborative project between the Association of Geography Teachers and the Department of Geography at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning (IGOT) from Lisbon University and is funded by DGIDC. This is a site where digital resources are made available under a Creative Commons license; there are a range of educational resources for the development of geographic skills in the use of digital maps and Geographic Information Systems (GIS, SIG in portuguese).
- Plano Nacional de Leitura (PNL) or National Reading Plan is a website were to find: New Readings – space to meet new books, authors and illustrators -; PNL Blogue; Biblioteca de Livros Digitais or Library of Digital Books; Clube de Leituras or Reads Club – project that intends to help promote reading habits in Portugal (with available Ebooks ); Ler+ Dá Saúde or Read + Gives Health – involves professionals of health centers and hospitals in the counseling of family reading;Ler+ em família or Read + in family – about how can parents motivate children to read -;Ler+Escolas or Read + Schools – In this site can learn about the projects and initiatives launched by PNL as well as activities undertaken by schools under the Books and Reading; Caminho das Letras or Way of Letters – learning to read with use of modern multimedia systems -; Ler+Teatro or + Read Theatre – website devoted to the theatre and its connection to school-. PNL aims to raise literacy levels of the Portuguese so it links to other sites where can find an assortment of pedagogical resources like free books, free e-books, free videos, activity sheets among others.
- eduSCRATCH: Project around the tool Scratch (a tool to create and share interactive stories, games, music anda art). Aimed at creating an educational community (portal Sctrach) and promoting the dissemination, training, support and sharing experiences using Scratch in educational contexts.
GAVE (Gabinete de Avaliação Educacional or Office of Educational Assessment) initiative:
- Banco de Itens or Stock Items – with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 this database allows, among other features, to consult the available items to make ‘online’knowledge tests
- Banco de Exames e Provas or Stock Exams and Tests – with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5, this database is an archive of all assessment instruments designed within the mission of GAVE since 1997. This archive can be viewed and downloaded files relating to benchmarking tests, final exams and the exam papers at national level (basic education and secondary) and the intermediate tests.
OECD Education Working Papers No. 76 reports that the government of Norway now insists on free sharing of publicly funded learning materials. (No mention of open licensing.)
Norway reports that the large government involvement in learning materials depends on the fact that both written and digital materials are free of charge to students in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education (International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 1 to 3).
Hylén, J. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources: Analysis of Responses to the OECD Country Questionnaire”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 76,
OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k990rjhvtlv-en pp.8-10
The Digital School initiative by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, is the official repository of all the textbooks in the form of e-books for all levels of education (primary, secondary, upper secondary and professional education).