In an article in Science, Published on January 2, Marshall S. Smith explores the history of and promises and challenges for Open Education Resources (OER). Growing out of MIT’s decision, in 2000, to make available on the Web the core content of all its courses the movement rapidly grew with dozens of universities worldwide making their course content freely available.
In the article Smith says: “The confluence of the Web and a spirit of sharing intellectual property have fueled a worldwide movement to make knowledge and education materials open to all for use. … In 2007 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a study of the use and prevalence of OER in the developed world, concluding that ‘An apparently extraordinary trend has emerged.'” Today, more than 7,800 courses are available on the web.
Smith looks at several issues in developing an infrastructure for the OER. These include technical, social, cultural, political, legal and financial issues.
He provides examples of OER which include: Science simulations designed by C. Wieman of the University of British Columbia and University of Colorado, MIT OpenCourseWare, and the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education’s HippoCampus.
Article: Opening Education (subscription)