The idea of learning being free always seemed like a utopian fantasy to me – something ideal but perhaps unattainable. Yet, we are witnessing a movement towards this dream in an era where knowledge begins to flow with a freedom similar to music on Spotify and YouTube. It’s a growing trend where the expertise of elite academics and universities is increasingly accessible, inviting anyone from anywhere to learn without a cost.
I can’t help but marvel at how this new world of open educational resources (OER) has expanded my horizons. This revolution in education has prompted me to ponder what I can do to keep this momentum going. How can I, in my own small way, contribute to this vast, interconnected knowledge ecosystem?
Today, I am already sharing my insights, my learnings, and my unique perspectives not only within the boundaries of my university but also across my professional network and through free webinars. Yet, there are new platforms for me to explore, diverse audiences to reach, and innovative ways I can disseminate knowledge freely that goes beyond my current efforts.
However, Mishra’s (2017) research sheds light on a different aspect. It reveals that teachers like myself share educational resources mainly due to intrinsic motivation and professional ethics. Yet, they also need recognition for their efforts to boost their involvement with open educational resources (OER). The study also highlights a significant barrier: the infrequent adaptation of OER, often due to a lack of institutional support and the heavy workload teachers face. The study suggests a multi-faceted approach to encourage OER use in universities. First, it calls for raising awareness among teachers and leaders about the benefits of OER. Second, it emphasizes the need for clear roles and alignment with institutional goals. Lastly, it addresses quality concerns by proposing appropriateness and trustworthiness as essential criteria for evaluating OER.
My reflection on open education boils down to 2 things: gratitude and responsibility. Gratitude for the access to a world of knowledge that was once beyond my reach and the responsibility to share this wealth of learning with others. As I explore how I can further contribute to this open learning movement, my purpose is clear—to inspire and be inspired, in a continuous exchange of knowledge that benefits us all.
Mishra, S. (2017). Promoting use and contribution of open educational resources.