Department of Education proposes OER initiatives to directly impact teachers

Department of Education proposes OER initiatives to directly impact teachers

On open educational resources -- Beyond definitions

Photo credit: flickr user opensource.com Creative Commons License

We at the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) could not be happier about two new Department of Education initiatives that not only reinforce the work we do to create and disseminate high quality open instructional materials for language learning but also expand government support for Open Educational Resources (OER) across disciplines.

At the end of October 2015, officials at the Department of Education and in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy welcomed school superintendents, educators, technology representatives, and non-profit leaders to an Open Education Symposium in Washington DC. At that meeting, the Department of Education announced the launch of a new #GoOpen Challenge campaign aimed at encouraging the use of openly licensed educational materials and also proposed a new policy regulation that would require all copyrighted intellectual property created with the support of Department of Education grant funds to carry an open license. In a distinct move away from traditional textbooks, the Department of Education asserted the need for all students to have access to high quality open learning resources.

Added to the recent appointment of the first Open Education Advisor, Andrew Marcinek, the new Department of Education pledge demonstrates that the government is serious about raising OER awareness. This aligns with COERLL’s mission to offer open materials for language learning at low-to-no cost. Unlike traditional course materials, OER may be adjusted and improved to meet the needs of students of all backgrounds in all districts, even the most underfunded ones.

Not surprisingly, some are wondering what the impact of #GoOpen and its support of next generation materials will be for classroom teachers. Importantly, participating districts will save money by adopting low cost OER in place of expensive traditional textbooks. Additionally, teachers will no longer have to worry that they might be breaking the law by inadvertently using copyrighted educational resources in the wrong way. Certainly, as more educators participate in OER creation and dissemination, the sharing of innovative materials and ideas will increase. Teachers will also learn more about best practices and, as they contribute their own materials, gain greater visibility and professional recognition.

If you would like to express your views on the new Department of Education OER policy proposals, you can do so here until December 18. We’d also be curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

David Wiley’s Remix Hypothesis: using OER to rethink teaching

David Wiley’s Remix Hypothesis: using OER to rethink teaching

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David Wiley, Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning and OER advocate, spoke at the University of Texas to kick off the Year of Open, a series of events sponsored by the UT Libraries and the Center for Learning Sciences. Wiley is well known in Open Education circles for his “5 R’s” framework of OER … [Continue reading...]

The TELL Collab: a New Model for Professional Learning

The TELL Collab: a New Model for Professional Learning

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This summer, COERLL will team up with the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) Project to offer a new kind of professional learning experience for world language educators. Embracing a participant-driven model of learning, the TELL Collab will allow educators to engage in the very p … [Continue reading...]

COERLL Awarded New Title VI Grant for 2014-2018!

COERLL Awarded New Title VI Grant for 2014-2018!

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COERLL is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a four-year Title VI grant by the Department of Education to continue its operation through 2018. Established in 2010, COERLL is one of 16 national foreign language resource centers. COERLL's mission is to produce and disseminate Open … [Continue reading...]

Re-Mixxer: Using French and German OER in The Mixxer

Re-Mixxer: Using French and German OER in The Mixxer

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Last year, the Mixxer (a free educational website for language exchanges via Skype) offered a MOOC to English speakers learning Spanish and paired the participants with a partner course of Spanish speakers learning English. Using open educational resources from COERLL, Colby College, Voice for Ame … [Continue reading...]

Ecologies of Knowledge: The Role of Libraries and Librarians in the OER Movement

Ecologies of Knowledge: The Role of Libraries and Librarians in the OER Movement

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Our presentation at this year’s AAAL conference highlighted several findings from a survey distributed to 155 university-level language program directors (LPDs). The study provides a snapshot of the progress of open education in the field of language learning in the United States. In one section of t … [Continue reading...]