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Open Access(OA) & OER: Open Access Movement

No matter how easy it is to access and/or use a work, you still need to give credit to the author, through attribution or citation.

What does the Open Access Movement hope for?

Faculty members – create textbooks in poorly represented areas, review and rate textbooks
Librarians – teaching, curation, creation, rating, communication and facilitation
Students – cheaper materials, participation in creating educational materials 
Business – philanthropy funding, creating  free and for-fee value-added materials
Non-profits – funding the ideal, promotion, participation  and facilitation

Paying it forward:  One principle of the Open movement is that you should sow where you reap.  In other words, pay it forward.  Use OER, but then, when you can, release your own creative works into the open environment to replenish and sustain the model.

Strengths of Open Access

Social justice – Providing cheaper or free materials to students to lower the cost barrier. Do-able fix with positive high visibility and marketing potential
Cost savings – savings to campuses with textbook fees, and to students if textbooks are their responsibility and optional
Retention – Fewer barriers means more students succeed. Open pedagogy is also more engaging
Pedagogical innovation – new methods often spur teachers and students to new heights due to increased excitement and attention
Ability to improve materials for quickly changing disciplines – flexibility to tailor materials without fear of getting sued
librarians can help with metadata/ discovery/ assigning context

Weaknesses of Open Access

Ability to improve materials for quickly changing disciplinesmeans more work for faculty – often on an unpaid basis – which does not respect their contribution

The need for ancillary/ supplementary materials (test banks)   (Adjunct)ification – “Just-in-time-teachers”/ labor do not get paid for preparation time.   - Who will adapt classes to OER? Who will pay for labor? Either pay the teachers or the vendors to create supplementary materials to flesh out the textbook or concepts taught

Cost savings for students – Free textbooks will be ignored by poor students. Some people do not value that which is given freely.  No cost, no respect. There are also more significant, (but also more expensive and time intensive) methods of improving student outcomes, such as mentoring and checks for students at risk

Sustainability of OER initiatives in danger of neglect if movement in not constantly recruiting new helpers.  Once the funding dries up and goes to a new educational trend, will this movement fade away?  To remain useful, there is a need to update, re-evaluate, and maintain OER resources

Misconceptions of Open Access

Myth – If it is easy to get on the internet it is open to any use.
Legislatures, Universities, Non-Profits and other entities are paying professionals to make openly licensed textbooks that are free to use. Also, some professionals have time, expertise, and the passion to create quality open access objects on a voluntary basis.

Myth - OER Textbooks are not as good as traditional textbooks.

Many Open textbooks have been peer-reviewed. Studies show students don’t do worse, and in some cases do better, in classes using OER. This may be the effect of the material being new and fresh, or that better teachers are more willing to adopt new methods. Too many variables to judge.

Myth – It takes too much time to dig up OER resources or make all the supplementary resources like tests.
Actually, librarians are busy collecting and organizing (curating) OER to make it easier for faculty to find and use. Many organizations have searchable repositories. You can help your students "learn how to learn" by letting them look for and evaluate resources for concepts you want them to understand.. Students will rise up to , or lower themselves to – YOUR expectations. Shoot for the stars.

Myth – Publishers are going to fight the open movement. 

Actually, they are adapting quite well.  For-profit companies, including Lumen Learning and Cengage, are providing “value-added” services" to use with free OER textbooks.

Open Pedagogy:

The idea of having students participate in the creation of learning objects. This places the teacher in the position of “guide-on-the-side” or consultant, while students participate in active and relevant learning. This philosophy encourages meaningful assignments that become building blocks in the educational system, rather than “disposable assignments”

Open Pedagogy encourages teachers to work with their students to create Open Educational Resources instead of disposable assignments.

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