One of the latest questions surrounding OER is how best to sustain the growing movement towards free, openly-licensed materials. The current model has been mostly grant-funded, and powered by a widespread interest in lowering the costs of education.
One article for InsideHigherEd, “Open Resources in an Age of Contingency,” observes a relationship between OER and part-time (or “contingent“) faculty members. Others have speculated that a key towards true integration of OER (and other open practices) into higher education will center around issues of faculty workload, tenure and promotion.
The Role of Educational Technology
OER typically rely upon online platforms, so that they can be made accessible for students. Here at CityTech, most OER course sites are hosted on the OpenLab, which is created “by a team that includes City Tech faculty, staff, and current and former students” as an “an open-source digital platform.” This allows for the true involvement of CityTech community members, who will shape the ways the OpenLab develops.
There are many other platforms (including for-profit business) that offer their services to colleges and universities, such as Lumen Learning, TopHat, and others. Part of the question about maintaining the spirit of “open” involves questions of how and why resources are made “free” – and at what potential risk to student privacy and other data.