David Wiley has posted on his blog what looks like an answer to the question I asked him last week that is referred to here in For-Profit Involvement with OER
“If OER adoption were to become widespread among the majority of faculty, it became clear that someone would need to do something more than create OER, post it on a website, and give conference talks about it.” That's an observation that Wiley makes in his post and which is so very obvious to anyone who has been involved with education and technology for more that a week or two.
The biggest reason that OER hasn’t had much of a chance of getting used in all kinds of schools is because devices to use OER have not been common enough in most classrooms to make it practical for teachers to begin the adoption of a new way of doing things. That is, until recently. OER are now practical because devices to use OER are becoming cheaper every day and wifi is becoming stronger in every classroom every day. Adoption didn’t happen quicker because technology in education at the classroom level had not yet evolved to the point where it was practical.
Wiley wisely tried first to use OER with learning management systems.. Well, LMSs have had the same problem that OER faced - not enough commonly used technology at the classroom level. I’ll also add that there hasn’t been enough leadership or professional development for teachers to adopt either LMSs or OER. That, too, is changing, finally.
Wiley described a couple of problems that they ran into when trying to use OER within a LMS.
They also discovered that faculty don’t always follow all of the rules of attribution. Really !
So, instead of addressing those problems Lumen did the next best thing that also just happens to offer a ROI for investors of Lumen.
“Lumen has spent a lot of time, effort, and money creating an OER management and integration platform that solves many of the most common OER adoption problems, which is also free and open source. “ - that’s the Lumen Wordpress / Pressbooks LMS like thingy that they use to house the OER. Their thingy may be open source but how many people on the planet outside of Lumen know how to operate it? And, where is the documentation on how to operate this open source tool? How many faculty or teachers are there who typically and practically use this tool?
Because the OER that Lumen is offering to schools is in the platform that they built Lumen gets to charge the users of the OER as much as $25.00 per OER which also includes all of the other things that Lumen does.
‘Institutions partner with Lumen because Lumen provide faculty training and support, checks of OER licensing and attribution, hosting and technical support for our platform, and analytics and effectiveness research – as well as other services like strategic and change management consulting for academic leadership.”
It sounds like Lumen has become a LMS hosting company using a LMS that is open source but that not very many people other than Lumen actually know how use.
And, Lumen has created package deals for degree programs, too. I think that means that they will spin up a Nursing Assistant program, for instance, or some other special program that is popular and useful at colleges. The OER content will be all wrapped in with all of the other things that Lumen does to make the degree program happen. So, they’re like the OPMs (online program management) that have been in the news lately. OPM is hot in higher ed and apparently worth over a $billion. Lumen and its investors deserve a piece of that money, I guess.