Open Educational Resources (OER) practice was adopted during 2002 Forum organized by UNESCO. The main concept of OER is associated open and free use of resources for teaching, development, learning, and research. All the materials could be shared in digital formats via various online and offline media platforms.
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Such a policy introduced by the Commonwealth of Learning provides a wider access to education by reducing costs and improving the quality of learning.
Despite numerous advantages, the OER movement undergoes heavy criticism due to the failure and insularity to connect its main activities with larger target audience (The Commonwealth of Learning, n. d.).
There are also doubts concerning the nature of motives claimed by the Commonwealth because of accusations of imperialism, as well as discrimination in terms of political, cultural, and economic preferences.
In this respect, developing a learning environment for students from United Arab Emirates to study English and IT is a challenge because of the established restrictions.
To undermine the rationale for OER, Rolfe (2012) and Willems (2012) emphasis is placed on the challenges of copyright, as well as problems with IT support. In particular, the means of information sharing raise equity consideration for students whose learning skills and experience do not allow them to engage fully into academic process.
Besides, developing countries face difficulties in ensuring sufficient IT assistance for students participating in OER movement. Apart from the problems with technical support, Schmidt-Jones (2012) and Lane (2012) discuss the importance of motivation for students to make inquires through OER systems, which are predetermined by the availability of the learning modules.
In fact, most people need constant supervision and assistance for obtaining information via Internet sources. Finally, availability of the resource cannot guarantee community’s active participation in movement. In this respect, Scanlon (2012) refers to the community’s potential using open resources for self-development.
Free and open education often prevents teachers from assessing their experience and readiness to obtain and share information independently (Gil et al., 2012). Therefore, being a teacher of English as a second language and IT, it is purposeful to integrate training programs for students to have a better idea of the movement.
Despite the fact that OER practices generate constant information sharing and exchange, as well as gaining experience in online learning, there are still a number of challenges characterized by economic and cultural factors (Richter, 2012).
In this respect, Hodgkinson-Williams (2012) recognizes that OER can be successful in case teachers and learners overcome educational gap and ensure the development of educational justice. Sharing educational resources remains a challenge for teachers and students whose IT competence is below the established level (Gil et al., 2012).
In order to overcome this problem, Thakrar et al. (2009) insists that OER can be successful in case such constituents as accessibility, support for teachers, accommodation for cultures, adequate resources, and institutional practices are presented.
Overall, OER movement should continue promoting its practices despite a number of challenges that are typical of developing economies deviating from Western industrialized culture.
It is highly important to reconsider the policy introduced by the Commonwealth of Learning to fill in the educational gaps and enrich learners and teachers with the necessary experience in handling IT resources and integrating distant learning.
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Support provided for learners and teachers is indispensible for improving social inclusion and developing world’s educational network.
Gil, P. P., Candelas, F. A., García, G. J., & Jara, C. A. (2012). Open Educational Resources: The Role of OCW, Blogs, and Videos in Computer Networks Classroom. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning, 7(3), 4-10.
Hodgkinson-Williams, C. (2012). The role of postgraduate students in co-authoring open educational resources to promote social inclusion: a case study at the University of Cape Town. Distance Education, 33(2), 253-269.
Lane, A. (2012). A review of the role of national policy and institutional mission in European distance teaching universities with respect to widening participation in higher education study through open educational resources. Distance Education, 33(2), 135-150.
Richter, T. (2012). Open educational resources: education for the world?. Distance Education, 33(2), 201-219.
Rolfe, V. (2012). Open Educational Resources: Staff Attitudes and Awareness. Research In Learning Technology, 20(1), 1.
Scanlon, E. (2012). Open educational resources in support of science learning: tools for inquiry and observation. Distance Education, 33(2), 221-236.
Schmidt-Jones, C. (2012). An Open Educational Resource Supports a Diversity of Inquiry-Based Learning. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 13(1), 1-16.
Thakrar, J., Zinn, D., & Wolfenden, F. (2009). Harnessing Open Educational Resources to the Challenges of Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(4),1-16.
The Commonwealth of Learning. (n. d.). Open Educational Resources (OER). Retrieved from https://www.col.org/
Willems, J. (2012). Equity considerations for open educational resources in the glocalization of education. Distance Education, 33(2), 185-199.