OERs – giving vs. sharing…and a hope for the future

I’ve been doing this ed tech thang long enough to remember the beginning of the “Learning Object Repository” thing, and watch it evolve into the Open Educational Resources movement.  It’s a good thing.

At the recent etug conference, I attended a session where the idea about the difference between GIVING and SHARING was raised. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Giving, I think, is lobbing a bunch of stuff over the fence. Reams of content: there you go, there’s all our stuff –  have at ‘er.   This approach is what got this party started, and so this isn’t meant to be a disparaging comment. But I think we need to evolve the practice.

Sharing, I think, is making useful stuff available in a thoughtful, easy-to-access way. Thinking about what might be of USE to the broader community (what do we have in common?). Keeping it up to date. Including help/suggestions/ideas for implementation, pedagogy.  There are certainly people moving in this direction, and people like BC Campus who are supporting people to move in this direction in real ways. It makes so much sense.

Sharing is harder, of course. My hope for the future of OERs is we all share fewer, higher quality things well. Such loaded terms (fewer than what? what’s quality? what’s “sharing well”? ) I know, I know.  But it’s my hope, dammit. And I have faith that we can work it out.  We Education people are used to dealing in things that are not an exact science.

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