Open Education Week (March 27-31) is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its goal is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. SMU Libraries are helping to celebrate this week with three brief interviews with as many Open Education experts. Today’s questions are answered by SMU’s very own Jonathan McMichael, User Experience Librarian.


What is Open Education?

Open Education Resources (OER) are any instructional materials including full courses, textbooks, assignments, videos, tests, software, etc. that are intentionally kept in the public domain. The goal is that they are accessible to anyone interested in teaching and learning the content. Together, they create a “free” curriculum that allows for greater access to quality learning materials.

Why is Open Education important?

Open Education sees education as a public good. We must imagine that each time money is demanded for education there is a section of the population unable to pay that money. This means, each time a person charged for education, a barrier has been created keeping some from that education. Open Education looks to remove all of those barriers allowing for the free and open use and reuse of educational materials. The idea is for more people to have greater access to quality education, which is better for everyone.

What would Open Education mean for Higher Education?

Certainly OER would expand access to educational resources to more learners with far more consistency. While this could lead to better learning experience to non-traditional students, all student could stand to benefit. Lowering the transactional cost of education can benefit every learner because it makes teaching and educational design cheaper and easier.

OER also has the potential to address the rising costs of higher education. Giving instructors the ability to pick and choose from a suite of Open Education Resources, which could then be modified for their individual classes, could promote access to a greater diversity of learning environments.

For examples of OER, check out OpenStax Higher Education resources.


Thanks, Jonathan! Stay tuned for our second installment in this series on March 29th, when we chat with Daniel Williamson, Managing Director at OpenStax


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