The 2014 Brooklyn Core Conference featured some interesting conversations around Open Education Resources (OER):
Steven Ovadia provided an overview of OER, including definitions, uses, and how OER meet both student and faculty needs.
Maura Smale discussed ongoing CUNY OER initiatives, including City Tech’s open education precalculus textbook, and how to link to resources in library databases (which, while not strictly OER, are freely-available resources for students and faculty at CUNY).
Jane Palmquist of Brooklyn College’s Music department spoke about her online class that makes use of freely available material. The class is hosted here in the Commons, but right now, it’s only accessible to members of the CUNY Academic Commons.
Faculty continue to be interested in the idea of OER, but based on questions and conversations heard at the conference, the issue isn’t whether to proceed, so much as it’s how to. One of the easiest ways to get started is to take the short, self-paced OER101 class, which covers everything from navigating OER repositories to copyright to uploading your own content. OER isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s good to start slowly, maybe by transitioning a few assignments into something more open, and then expanding upon that gradually over a few semesters, until eventually, your costly textbook has been replaced by a customized, engaging, freely-accessible class.