Friday, January 1, 2016

OER and the Learning Management System

In its recent publication, OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Advancing Widespread Adoption to Improve Instruction and LearningThe William and Flora Hewlett Foundation stated that they're looking for ways to "facilitate their understanding of how to successfully scale OER and communicate its benefits." My suggestion to increase the percentages listed on the OER Dashboard on page 31 which are indicators of successes with OER is to focus on the use of OER with Learning Management Systems.

Few people want to be champions for LMSs in either higher ed or K-12, for lots of good reasons, but the LMS is the key to making OER more useful in both K-12 and higher ed. One of the reasons, I think, that LMSs have such a poor standing with all levels of education is that they haven't previously had OER. OER is the key ingredient to make LMSs really useful in either K-12 or higher ed. Without OER, LMSs can be an appendage or obstacle to teaching and learning. And, without an LMS, OER is often something that is harder to use than what we've always used previously - the textbook.

An open textbook can be fitted into a learning management system quite easily and practically. When the textbook is housed in a LMS, it is more easily available to students, teaching notes can be included, assessments are included, and reports aligning student learning outcomes can be created for all of the various potentially interested parties. The most exciting part is the fact that OER makes the content in a learning management system something that is alive, flexible, and well suited to the collaborative process that is teaching and learning.