Open Education and OERs

In his presentation, Michael McNally (2012) describes Open Education as a free exchange of knowledge.  He explains that Open Education sets out to eliminate barriers, including academic, geographic, and financial.  Based on the information presented in the video the primary objective of Open Education is to provide all with the opportunity for an education regardless of their location, prior academic experiences, and lack of funds for a higher education.  Open Education operates by creating Open Education Resources (OER), which are uploaded online and made available to the public at no cost.  These electronic resources can include lecture notes, exams, homework assignments, syllabuses, and multimedia tools.. These resources allow individuals to educate themselves on a range of subjects and content areas.


Based on the information I have learned from McNally’s (2012) presentation I believe the most promising aspect of this initiative is the fact that it promotes collaboration and innovation for both teaching and learning. In addition to offering students free opportunities for learning outside of a formalized institution, it also provides educators and professors with resources for enhancing their teaching.  As a teacher I am always searching for more creative and effective ways to teach a particular skill or content; therefore, it would be helpful to explore OERs in order to gain additional knowledge or ideas.  Sharing this these types of resources increases effective and innovative teaching, which is always a good thing.

In terms of challenges, I think Open Education will have to deal with many issues and complaints regarding plagiarizing.  The existence of the Internet already poses many problems with cheating and copying.  Due to the fact that Open Education sites provide free assignments, exams, and other resources there is an increased likelihood that individuals will replicate these as their own.  The ease of access and the amount of OERs will attract students, which may limit them from demonstrating their own unique knowledge. It also offers educators the opportunity to use others’ ideas for assignments and syllabuses in their own teaching, which although can be a positive, it may also decrease the authenticity and creativity of one’s teaching.  At times, it is nice to find something that you do not have to create or implement, but it is important to be cautious that the resources are appropriate for the intended purpose and not just because it is convenient and easy.

Question: If geographic, financial, and academic barriers were not an issue, would you prefer to learn through OERs or in a formalized institution?  Why?

Click here for an OER on enhancing education through game-based learning

My learning activity of requiring students to create a diagram of an animal life cycle using the Educreations App on the I-Pad could be an OER for other first grade teachers to use in their science instruction.  By uploading the lesson plan, assessment, and student examples of my learning activity, other teachers could model or plan a lesson that includes similar elements. These types of lessons are the kind of resources I would love to find and use in my own instruction.  Sharing these ideas is a way for educators to collaborate and be innovative in their teaching with other teachers around the globe.


McNally, M. (2012, March 22). Democratizing access to knowledge: Find out what open educational resources have to offer. [Video file]. Retrieved from