The availability of free and open source software has exploded over the years. (Bonk 2009)This explosion has given learners the opportunity to access information freely via open education. Open Education (OE) eliminates the cost associated with education. It also eliminates the barrier of distance when accessing information. It also creates the opportunity for others to learn without the extra cost of admissions.
The video presentation by Michael McNally cites very great examples of open educational resources. He shared that OER gives students the opportunity to compare syllabus of different universities before making a choice as to which one to attend. Also OER eliminates copyright barriers. Since all resources are free, one has easy access to use and modify information from OER website. Tax payers who enable OER to function because of their tax contribution have the access to free information.
Despite the various positives of OE stated above there are still areas that call for concern. During his presentation, Michael McNally mentioned that OER allows students to attend college based on their age and not their grades. That can be a bit disturbing. Students will not be motivated to attain good grades when they know they have an alternative to pursuing higher education based on their age and not grades. The other challenge in using OER has to do with licensing and copyrights. If you locate a resource on the OER website you will have to locate the author and ask permission to use their information. This process may be time consuming and may require you to pay a licensing fee. So even though the information may be “open” they may not necessarily be free. The other concern with using this website has to do with the quality of the contents. Due to the fact that information is coming from all over the world and from different cultures, there is the possibility that some of the materials may contain slangs which may not be understandable to the one accessing the information.
I have come to appreciate what is available to students in this present era which was not a couple of years back. Information is so easily accessible; the life of student is so much better because information is just a click away. But the question is will open education be acceptable as a reputable way of earning a degree?
Helpful link http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/ten-years-later-why-open-educational-resources-have-not-noticeably-affected-higher-education-and-why-we-should-ca . This link shares more information about open education.
Bonk, C. J. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
McNally, M. (2012). Democratizing access to knowledge: Finding out what open educational resources (oer) have to offer. Retrieved August 11, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2IPOgl0ZE8