OER, Vertical and Horizontal | Confessions of a Community College Dean
lterrat's bookmarks 2017-05-24
"Horizontal development offers some real advantages. It’s politically easier, because it’s voluntary. But it also reaches more students sooner. If you knock out, say, five of the top ten enrolled gen ed classes, chances are good that the vast majority of the students at the college will get an OER class, if not several. Students talk to each other, and to faculty; over time, some who’ve had a few OER classes might ask their other professors why they aren’t using it. It’s one thing to reject an idea from a vice president, but it’s much harder to reject it from your own students. Assuming critical mass upfront, a viral transmission model can take effect. That has the advantage of long-term sustainability.
In my perfect world, the folks who do grants for OER would recognize both models, and support both. I’ve got thousands of students paying three figures per textbook (or not buying them at all) when they could be going with OER. Yes, it’s sometimes possible to use some internal money, but community college budgets tend to be tight. This is exactly the sort of thing for which grants are ideally suited.
So, a hint to the folks doing grants. Vertical development is great, and I’m all for it, when it’s possible. But don’t leave out horizontal development. We could make a real difference for an amazing number of students quickly, just by that one change."