Open education is a philosophy about the way people should produce, share, and build on knowledge. “Open educational resources (OERs) provide a model for convenient, cost-effective access [to resources] with no copyright barriers to worry about, expensive texts to purchase, or restrictions on adaptation, customization or re-use.”[i]
Open Education Week seeks to raise awareness and highlight open education efforts worldwide. OE Week provides practitioners, educators and students an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open educational practices and be inspired by the wonderful work being developed by the community around the world. [ii]
The 2020-2021 year presented unprecedented challenges in the world. One of these challenges met by educators was the sudden shift to online learning. Red River College kicked off discussion and supports for Faulty using OER (Open Educational Resources) in May 2020 spearheaded by the new Copyright officer in partnership with Campus MB. Over one hundred faculty and staff attended this session, and two additional sessions on OER were hosted during the 2020 year.
One simple adoption of an open textbook at RRC during the 2020-2021 year served 840 students, saving each student $159.95 in textbook costs for a total saving to students of $134,358. This the impact of just one title, over the years RRC has seen over 8 open textbook adoptions.
OER’s have also provided instructors at RRC with additional resources to work with and adapt in a time when access to physical resources has been limited. The Open Education philosophy proves to be a great asset in the push for online learning environments prompted by the pandemic, but OER’s themselves have been around since the early 2000’s.
If you would like to view our past 2020 OER session it was recorded and is available to be viewed at your convenience:
OER’s are resources published under an open license, such as Creative Commons, these resources can be freely adapted to help your students meet the learning outcomes for your course. At RRC our main focus in the 2020 year has been around the use of Open Textbooks but many different OER’s exist as vast as the types of educational content. If you feel like you missed the boat and are just hearing about OER, let me assure you that isn’t the case. The RRC library offers an OER Landing Page to start you out on your Open Education journey.
If you are already familiar with OER and would like to take this week to get up to speed conversations educators are having regarding Open Education during the pandemic Law Bytes has a prerecorded podcast discussing the significant new challenges for teachers and students in adapting course materials to the online learning environment. Be sure to check it out!
As we celebrate Open Education Week for the 2021 year, I challenge instructors to ask themselves:
What can Open Education do to support your online instruction?
How can Open Education serve your students?
If you are seeking OER assistance or support get in touch with the RRC Copyright Officer.
Happy Open Education Week!
[i] Michael Geist, “David Porter on the Benefits of Open Educational Resources as Millions Shift to Online Learning,” Law Bytes Podcast, March 30, 2020, https://www.michaelgeist.ca/podcast/episode-45-david-porter-on-the-benefits-of-open-educational-resources-as-millions-of-canadians-shift-to-online-learning/.
[ii] Open Education Week. Open Education Global, n.d. https://www.openeducationweek.org/page/what-is-open-education-week.