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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My mini-rant about OERs at #reps10

And pigs might Yesterday at Reps10 I had I little rant about our failure to implement a successful OER strategy. I was fired up last week at ALT-C by the statement that Hefce has wasted £10m on its failed OER strategy in the last two years, so when the dam broke yesterday, it all came out.

Failed strategy? Yes. For the average UK academic, OERs have made no signifcant inroads into their practice. Why? Because of the failure to establish a realistic system of reward and recognition for production or reuse of OERs. For most academics, OERs are perceived as a threat to their jobs. And academics aren't dumb. I get no instituional credit for producing or reusing any OER. But I do monitored on what the institution sees as my role in maintaining its position relative to it's competitors. Offer me £1000 to produce my OER biostatistics with R course and I'll bite your hand off. But as things are, why should I predjudice my job by spending the time to do this?

In the absence of a universal online micropayment system, we have a perfectly good model for academic credit which has existed for years but which has been ignored. It's called publishing royalties. That's why academics write textbooks. If that's too retro for you, a minimal alternative would be a supply side approach along the lines of the big U.S. OER repositries. Instead, we have the failed JISC technodeterminist stance.

You might say it's still early days. It is, but we're headed in the wrong direction. When will we get real about OERs?