Making the Transition to OER

Changing course is never an easy task. We often fall into a routine and realize the only reason why we do the things we do is because that's the way we've always done them. A successful businessperson once told me, "The scariest response to 'Why do we do that?' is 'Because that's the way we've always done it.'" Fast-growing organizations are known for thinking outside of the box, finding new roads, and taking the road less traveled. From publicly traded companies to small nonprofits, and yes, even colleges and universities, discovering, researching, and implementing new ideas, technologies, and processes can mean the difference between success and failure. One such change institutions of higher education can begin deploying without much interruption is the adoption of Open Educational Resources, or OER.

Textbooks seem almost archaic and old-fashioned to today's college student. Many completed high school courses thanks to a tablet or online course. Most utilize search engines when they have a question, not a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia. Did you know today's high school graduate has never heard a dial-up modem, unless they came across it on YouTube? Millennials, or whatever new designation we've given this generation of young people, are more concerned about the type of mobile phone they have than the make of car they drive. They are unlike any other generation before them, yet our higher education system continues to treat them the same as they treated Generation X and the Baby Boomers.

Making the transition to OER seems daunting. It's a big change to go from everything in a hardback book available at the college bookstore to something almost intangible, found on a mobile device. It's difficult to wrap our minds around how OER works: What does it consist of? How can faculty create course materials without writing a book of their own?

Before taking the plunge into OER, here are some tips on how to get started and, in general, embrace technology and its role in your classroom.

  1. Organize current resources and course assets such as Power Points, videos, outlines, articles, etc. that you created or own either personally or via your department/institution.
  2. Determine what's missing from the above audit and consider how the textbook "filled the gap" for your students.
  3. Work with OER experts (like our team here at Skyepack) to identify and create materials that fit the course, enhance the learning experience, and meet the quality standards of the instructor, department, and university.

As President John F. Kennedy so eloquently said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

To discover what your future courses look like with assistance from OER, contact us today.

Share this story:

About the author

Brady Kalb Oct 6th, 2016

Brady Kalb is the CEO of Skyepack. Brady’s passion for education stems from his desire to "always be learning" and find innovative solutions to difficult problems, and experiences teaching various business and entrepreneurship classes at universities.