While there are undoubtedly many out there who only see education and knowledge as a commodity which is to be sold to the highest bidder, there are others who maintain that education should be a right rather than a privilege, and knowledge should be freely accessible to all. There are so many nuances for each side of the argument that chances are it will take dozens of years, if not more, to find a solution which is going to be acceptable for both sides. However, there are some out there who have taken an initiative to bring free knowledge to everyone in the form of open education resources.
What Are Open Education Resources
The concept behind open education resources or OERs is simply for educators to share learning materials on as many subjects as possible so learners can access them easily and for free. As of now, more and more educational institutions around the globe are creating their own open education resources, and reusing those produced by others.
There are many out there who believe that these resources should be looked at as the start of a new era for education, which is fair and accessible. However, there are some who claim that it is a movement which will prove disadvantageous in the long run, maybe not to learners, but to those producing materials. There is a staff cost to producing materials, and OERs need to be released onto the internet or housed on specially designed repositories. There is an on-going cost of sustaining the open education movement.
While not qualified to provide an opinion as an expert, I can share a student’s point of view on the matter which should prove quite valuable because after all, open education resources were mainly made for student consumption.
The Benefits of Open Education Resources for Students
Open education resources offer a number of advantages for students and indeed informal learners who may choose to use them. They provide access to high quality learning materials to assist with their studies. This may be because the student is finding them openly on the internet, or because tutors, teachers and lecturers are themselves recommending resources. Alternatively, a resource might just be used by a casual learner who is curious about a subject and just wants to understand more.
Open educational resources are made available on the internet and provide an accessible learning solution for anyone with an internet connection, whether they are using a computer or mobile device.
Many institutions post open educational resources that form entire courses, for example video recordings of lectures, accompanying lecture notes and quizzes to test subject understanding. This is making access to learning much easier to afford for those on a very limited budget, such as myself. If developed further, the whole concept of open education could lead to a more intelligent and well educated society, which in turn will benefit everyone.