Downes & Wiley discuss OER

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Are you watching Stephen and David discussing open educational resources? It’s fascinating so far, with their different styles, but I’m not sure I’m hearing much to help move us forward on open educational resources. But it’s still early in the day in Vancouver (albeit late in the UK).

We’ve had quite a bit of semantic debate so far, so maybe the guys are just warming up. But how many potential producers of OERs are listening to this discussion, hoping for insight from two highly respected individuals, but are instead feeling just a little confused by what the issues are.

On the other hand maybe they’re just getting on with producing and releasing great content, selecting from a spectrum of licenses that reflect the different contexts in which content can be used. As a consumer of content I’ll make the judgement about what content is right for me and my purpose from all the content that’s licensed according to my needs. If I search content in Flickr for example I can choose whether I want to see content to use commercially or content to modify, adapt, or build upon. I don’t have to see stuff that’s not useful to me. Why should discovering educational resources be any different?

David and Stephen will be coming back refreshed from lunch soon. So let’s see where this goes. I just hope we don’t get into any false dichotomies where open educational resources all have to be either like this, or like that, because it’ll never be that black or white. Creative Commons understands this, that’s why there’s a range of licenses for a range of conditions. They may not cover every context just yet, but it’s the best framework we have so far.

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