Online educational resources are revolutionizing access to education for many particularly those with limited access to libraries and expensive books. The author claims that though many of working in higher education regard online resources as low in quality, the gradual improvement in their quality over time will see the use of online resources become part of the mainstream. This describes the classic growth pattern of a disruptive innovation as described by Christensen (2003).
The author foresees this changing the relationship between student and teacher as learners will be able to access resources online and the teacher’s role as gatekeeper to all knowledge is eroded.
This paper discusses how a university in Malaysia uses online educational resources (OER) in its teacher education courses. The university employs a blended learning approach including a combination of face-to-face, online and independent learning. The online and independent learning components make up the vast bulk of instructional time and both are web based. The online component focuses on interactive social online learning facilitated by an online mentor. The independent self-instructional module (SIM) focuses on watching online videos, completing online activities and exam preparation.
The author claims that the main problem with using this blended learning approach is sourcing high quality materials aside from those provided by expensive content publishers. Using open and non-open online resources allows the author to develop the online blended learning components using high quality and cost effective resources under Creative Commons and Public Domains licenses. He describes the process in choosing and validating OER in three stages:
- Matching OER with learning outcomes
- Choosing appropriate and effective online learning activities
- Basing selection of OER on cognitive principles of learning.
Because of the growth and increasing accessibility of OER , the author sees the role of the teacher changing from that of a font of all knowledge to that of a “content curator”. This role change will see teachers responsible for locating, adapting and organising OER into coherent and accessible digital courses.
The author outlines some interesting challenges in using OER including the process of finding quality resources, inspecting courses for broken links, copyright issues concerning use of non-OER materials and the lack of resources developed for non-western audiences.
Arul Phillips, J. (2012). Experiences in Finding and Using OER in Teacher Education Programmes: Pedagogical Approach and Challenges. In J. H. Glennie, & N. &. Butcher (Eds.), Open Educational Resources and Change in Higher Education: Reflections from Practice (pp. 173 – 186). Vancouver,, British Columbia, Canada: Commonwealth of Learning.
Christensen, C. M. (2003). The innovator’s solution: Creating and sustaining successful growth. Boston, MA, USA: Harvard Business Press.