As with any educational resource, there are both advantages
and disadvantages associated with using OERs in the classroom.
Advantages of using OERs include:
access to learning.Students
anywhere in the world can access OERs at any time, and they can access
the material repeatedly.
scalability.OERs are easy to distribute widely with
little or no cost.
augmentation of class materials. OERs can supplement textbooks and lectures where deficiencies in information are
enhancement of regular course content. For example, multimedia material such as videos can accompany text.Presenting information in multiple
formats may help students to more easily learn the material being taught.
quick circulation. Information
may be disseminated rapidly (especially when compared to information
published in textbooks or journals, which may take months or even years to become available). Quick availability of material may increase the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.
less expense for students. The
use of OERs instead of traditional textbooks or course packs, etc. can
substantially reduce the cost of course materials for students.
showcasing of innovation and talent.A wide audience may learn of faculty
research interests and expertise.Potential students and donors may be impressed, and student and
faculty recruitment efforts may be enhanced.
ties for alumni. OERs
provide an excellent way for alumni to stay connected to the institution
and continue with a program of lifelong learning.
textbooks and other static sources of information, OERs can be improved
quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation
of user feedback.Instructors can
take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER
available for others to use.
Disadvantages of OERs include:
issues.Since many OER repositories
allow any user to create an account and post material, some resources may
not be relevant and/or accurate.
of human interaction between teachers and students.OER material is created to stand alone,
and since self-learning users may access the material outside of a
classroom environment, they will miss out on the discussion and instructor
feedback that characterize for-credit classes and that make such classes useful
and/or cultural barriers.Although efforts
are being made to make OERs available in multiple languages, many are only
available in English, limiting their usefulness to non-English
speakers.Additionally, not all
resources are culturally appropriate for all audiences.
issues.Some students may have
trouble using some OERs if they have a slow or erratic internet
connection.Other OERs may require
software that students don’t have and that they may not be able to afford.
OERs are meant to be shared openly, the “fair use” exemption from the U.S.
Copyright Act ceases to apply; all content put online must be checked to
ensure that it doesn’t violate copyright law.
issues.Since OER creators
generally do not receive any type of payment for their OER, there may be
little incentive for them to update their OER or to ensure that it will
continue to be available online.