MAR 2015 — As we move into our 2nd issue of the E-zine, I would like to discuss the importance of OER (Open Educational Resources) in the future of online course development in higher education. OER are high quality resources that can be readily accessible for use in online courses and they are free.
Recently the University of Maryland, University College, one of the largest online operations in the world, moved to using OER in 100% of their undergraduate courses by fall of 2015. Right now they are at 50%.
This means that their students will pay nothing for textbooks from 2015 forward. Here at LCCC, Dawn Puente has been working to put the Health Information Technology online using OER for all the courses. This is a first for LCCC and I am sure we will feature more in a later issue.
In the past, the concern has been about the quality of these free OER. Recently, the Gates Foundation funded a massive OER project in the State of Washington and all of those resources can be accessed by our faculty for free. The OER Commons is a worldwide resource. The Orange Grove Repository was created with resources that will fit right into D2L, while a grant from the Department of Education funded an Open Access Textbook project.
While we look ahead to the future of learning technologies here at LCCC, I can see that these great free resources could save our students thousands of dollars in textbook costs while creating great interactive courses with high quality materials. I would ask that you consider this when developing your next course.
–Les Balsiger, J.D.–