Speaking ahead of this week's OER symposium, Brian Lamb from the University of British Columbia urges higher education to show leadership in difficult times. “Given the crises in economics and the environment, and the many challenges we face in modern society, it seems perverse to hoard knowledge in any form. We have an urgent need to harness all the ingenuity and expertise that we can, and higher education must show leadership in this respect,” he argues.
Lamb’s argument is particularly topical as the government’s digital champion Martha Lane Fox is taking up the challenge of getting more people online. We need to ensure people are finding quality content once they get there and a strong motivation for people to engage with the internet is learning. Jisc’s and the Higher Education Academy’s programme on Open Educational Resources is driving a contents revolution in the UK, working with UK universities and colleges to share educational materials freely online and make them available to anyone world-wide, whether they are informal learners, students or academics. Open Educational Resources are one of the building blocks of digital Britain in the twenty-first century
Jisc’s Executive Secretary Malcolm Read comments: "Open Educational Resources are one of the building blocks of digital Britain in the twenty-first century. Jisc and the Higher Education Academy are supporting our universities and colleges in releasing high quality materials as a part of an international open layer of scholarly and academic resources with enormous benefits to students and society."
The International Open Educational Resources Symposium in London on 23 July 2010 showcases the work of the pilot programme and demonstrates how the UK is working towards the sustainable development and delivery of Open Educational Resources.
David Sadler, Director of Networks at the Higher Education Academy, says: “This event will share the experiences of the pilot projects which, since early 2009, have been working to make thousands of resources freely available through the UK OER programme, leading to a more positive student learning experience. Other institutions will be able to learn from their many successes and hear how the teams overcame significant challenges, to provide truly open educational resources, both across institutional programmes and across subject communities.”
Lamb, the Manager of Emerging Technologies and Digital Content at the University of British Columbia’s Office of Learning Technology, is one of the keynote speakers at the symposium alongside Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. He concludes: “Many claim that the Internet represents a revolution in human communication, one with profound effects on how we produce, consume, share, and value knowledge. If that's the case, higher education has an obligation to show leadership. We need the web to be something more than a place for shopping and videos of dogs on skateboards, and open educators have an opportunity to make a real difference”.
International Open Educational Resources Symposium - 23 July 2010
An online Open Educational Resources infoKit is available with information, advice and support for those with an interest in releasing open educational resources to the educational community.