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Tuesday, November 10 • 7:30pm - 7:30pm
The 5Rs+2, the Rights of Learners to Read and Reach OER

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OER is framed by the 5Rs, the rights to retain, ruse, revise, remix and redistribute, the rights of creators. The emphasis on the rights of creators is natural as the concepts were adopted by David Wiley from developers of open software. Today as we talk about open pedagogy where OER is a principal support of student learning, it becomes clear that 5Rs are not enough, we need to focus on rights that support learners. We must include the right to REACH and the right to READ. The right to REACH was the original impetus for OER as the cost of textbooks meant that many students just did not have access to their most used and important educational resource. Yet cost alone is far too narrow a base to displace commercial offerers who have responded to students refusal to buy expensive books with pedagogically damaging (and still expensive, though less so) textbook rental and inclusive access coupled to licenses for homework systems that attract instructors. The COVID disaster has also brought home that REACHING educational materials requires them to be available in multiple formats so that all students can have access at no cost or minimal cost. Factors that make it difficult for students to READ materials that they have access to can be broadly delineated as physical causes such as low vision, mental ones such as dyslexia or cultural ones often encountered by minorities or immigrants. These require paths to customization be built into OER systems. At the beginning, creators, as was the case for open software, were both experts and guides through the thicket of offerings. OER librarians and referatory/repository builders have taken on the task of directing users to appropriate OER and encouraging instructors to become creators and users. To meet their goals OER libraries must coherently integrate the entire curriculum, not just high enrollment introductory courses and be easily extendable with new software, distribution channels and, of course, courseware including not only texts but many decorations thereof such as annotations and homework systems. OER projects have been under pressure develop business models and sustainability plans. While serving the needs of students are implicitly the drivers for Open Ed and OER, there is a major benefit to make it explicit and discuss the best ways of doing so. Education, Open Education and Open Educational Resource projects are better envisioned as a gift culture than a commercial one.

Learning Outcomes: This proposal argues that OER has to explicitly focus on student needs. A number of conditions for doing so are discussed. The conclusion is that this is poorly done as commercial enterprises with business and sustainability plans but rather education, and thus OER projects are better envisioned as gift cultures where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement rewards.

avatar for Joshua Halpern

Joshua Halpern

Outreach Team Chair, LibreTexts
Josh Halpern is the Outreach Team Chair at the LibreTexts Project and is interested in discussions about how LibreTexts can support OER globally. LibreTexts is not only one of the largest OER textbook repositories but also provides tools foreasy and quick customization of books across... Read More →

Tuesday November 10, 2020 7:30pm - 7:30pm EST
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  Strategies, Lightning Talk