Gordon Freedman, President at the National Laboratory for Educational Transformation, recently reflected on the past sixteen years of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement in his short essay, “OER @ 16, “Where are You?” In tracing the movement from its beginnings in the early 2000s into today's MOOC and OER saturated landscape, Freedman calls for the ushering in of a second phase of the OER revolution.
Sixteen years into the OER movement, the amount of openly-licensed educational material is vast. And yet, Freedman laments, the world of OER is disorganized and chaotic. Despite the seemingly limitless resources available, there exists no global search capability, nor is there a method for delivering high-quality, well-curated resources to individuals on distinct educational paths. Freedman asserts that we are nowhere near where we should be in terms of offering every individual the opportunity to choose a career along with a clear and specific path by which to pursue it.
Freedman argues that the time has come for today's great titans of data and content management to usher OER us into a new era of interconnectedness and organization. If the last sixteen years have shown us anything, it's that the potential to truly democratize education is within our grasp, and now is the time to fulfill it.
By: Brian Ely