Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER

Posted on dinsdag 7 februari 2012

Tags: cable green, oer, open textbook

Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER

A great article from project partner Cable Green with David Wiley and Louis Soares: Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER

We are in the midst of a revolution in education. For the first time in human history we have the tools to enable everyone to attain all the education they desire. And best of all this education is available at almost no cost.

The key to this sea change in learning is open education resources, or OER. OER are educational materials produced by one party that are licensed to be used free of charge by others. OER come in many forms—from curriculum to homework assignment to textbooks. And OER exist for all levels of education, from kindergarten through college.

OER are starting to hit the public consciousness in the form of initiatives like the Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseware, and Washington’s Open Course Library. At the end of January, California lawmakers proposed legislation that would create a digital library of free college textbooks that could save the state’s college students millions of dollars each year in education costs.

OER are already being used by learners for self study, by teachers to enhance classroom learning, and by education providers to bring down the cost of instruction. Clearly, open education resources hold some of the answers to maintaining the quality of learning material while significantly reducing the cost of education.

With this brief we seek to provide a substantive understanding of OER and at the same time inform the emerging public debate over their use in public education. It’s clear to us that OER must be part of the broader conversation concerning spiraling education costs and the need to make education more accessible and affordable at all levels.

Finally we provide key suggestions for how policymakers can best structure the use of OER. Most immediately, we urge federal, state, and local governments and educational institutions to adopt a simple public policy: “All publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources.”

You can download the article here (PDF) or read it online (Scribd).

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