Realizing the power of ‘open’ to transform higher education

An institutional push for and commitment to the advanced technology that can efficiently organize OER content is key.

To realize this vision, the OER community will need to embrace new technology and systems that provide robust mechanisms to support the creation of effective sharing, repurposing, socializing, and securely distributing crowd-sourced learning materials in ways that drive effective student engagement and success.

The future of OER must be less about relying on creating, integrating, and distributing content “cartridge” learning modules, and more about content clouds (that provide a broad range of context-grouped materials) and the creation, sharing, and easy access to targeted intervention materials for student outcomes improvement.

The new OER world will require cloud-based, platform-neutral, intelligent content management capabilities that make current LMS software and other learning systems “smarter.”

These new systems will better serve faculty with the means of searching and finding relevance in OER resources that adapt to multi-variant teaching methods and learning modalities.

Future data-rich OER environments also will feature the ability to track, analyze, and report learner connections and behavior pathways as valuable data when mixed and matched with learners across the OER networked environment. Integrated assessment mechanisms must allow for the seamless collection of data on student interaction with content and create valuable feedback for faculty and course content developers.

OER content-cloud intelligent networked technologies could facilitate such tracking to examine both explicit and implicit behaviors to provide a vital fact base and collective sense of knowledge.

The future of OER professional development for faculty will derive from the increased ability to analyze and assess OER materials and to become more deeply involved in OER communities of practice that will naturally narrow the gap between student and instructor learning experiences and illuminate the benefits offered by open teaching and OER.

Most importantly, educators will need to be directly in control of innovation in the advancement of OER to provide sustainable growth in the open community.

In a blog post last year, 2011: The Year of “Open,” I posited that the OER movement has the potential to transform how faculty approach eLearning and blended learning in ways that can produce new knowledge to solve real problems by fostering deep engagement and innovation in teaching. In that post, I challenged faculty to take a first step toward that innovation by adopting an open attitude toward participatory web resources that enrich teaching and learning.

If an open attitude is step one, then step two is an action item: What can you do to drive institutional advocacy of OER on your campus, and perhaps a broader policy that rewards innovative programs and faculty?

We’d be very interested in hearing about the steps you’re taking and what the results have been.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lou Pugliese (, chairman and CEO of Moodlerooms, is a veteran entrepreneurial business strategist and open-source expert. He was founding CEO of Blackboard and has a successful history of driving growth and development in major brands such as ETS, Telecommunications Inc., Scholastic Inc., and Turner Broadcasting. He is also a noted international speaker on technology innovation in education and has addressed a wide range of issues in education and education policy.

eCampus News Staff