I am tired of reading reports of surveys of instructors who are asked if they know what OERs are and whether or not they use them. I’m also tired of reading that people who know what they are don’t use them because they don’t know where to find them, they don’t know if what they find is any good, or a million other silly excuses.
First of all, if your colleagues don’t know what OERs are (and I’m assuming if you’re reading this, that you do), then they are either retired on the job, or they should be. I can’t understand how anyone these days doesn’t know what OERs are. They are reported on everywhere – including the popular media – except maybe on media like Entertainment Tonight, who only talk about the Kardashians – whatever they are.
About a year ago I set up a Google Alert to send me emails when Google picks up a press comment about OERs. I get at least one email daily showing me press reports that somehow refer to OERs – in the US, almost exclusively talking about the adoption of free e-texts.
After all these years since OER has been around, and after all the education that most of our colleagues have, it’s a mystery to me that some of them don’t know what OERs are, where to find them, or how to know if they’re any good or not. Haven’t they ever heard of “the Google?”
This business about where do you find OERs, is ridiculous. All you have to do is type “OER collections into the Google search bar. Guess how many hits you get? I just got 379,000 hits while I’m writing this blog.
Now there’s the question of how good or how bad OERs might be. Even that’s an easy one to discover. If an OER collection is legitimate, like MERLOT that has been around for almost 20 years, where there are lots of reviews and user ratings, it’s easy to say what’s good and what’s not good.
I think the only reason that people don’t use OER is that they are just simply too lazy to change how they’ve been teaching for however long they’ve been teaching. If instructors are really interested in doing the best job for their students, they have an obligation to learn more and to use OERs.
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