If you can’t beat them, join them. That is Pearson’s latest approach to open educational resources (OER). Pearson showcased three solutions at Educause 2012 in Denver, CO. The products aim to foster personalized education and access to Open Educational Resources (OER).
Pearson has partnered with Gooru, a search engine for learning materials, to create Project Blue Sky, a new cloud-based service that enables instructors to access Open Educational Resources. Pearson will use Gooru’s search function to create applications that integrate OER with “faculty created and premium Pearson content.” Gooru allows instructors to search for e-book chapters, videos and online exercise software. It will return aggregated results from Harvard Open Courses, Connexions, OER Commons, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Courseware, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, and Wikiversity, among others. Under the new service, instructors can publish custom curriculum to a number of learning management systems, including OpenClass and LearningStudio, both owned by Pearson. Project Blue Sky is expected to launch, in beta, spring 2013.
Pearson also launched OpenClass Exchange, an online portal offering educational resources, including OER. OpenClass is available to educators, students, and institutions at no charge. Equella 6 is the latest release of Pearson’s digital repository that enables “users to search, create, and manage content online.” The new version includes the Equella Content Exchange, a free online destination housing OER resources; upgraded user interface; and mobile application for tablets.
According to a report from Babson Survey Research Group, faculty reported that key barriers to adopting OER include the lack of a single, comprehensive catalog of content, and concerns about too much time spent finding and evaluating the material.
Not surprisingly, chief academic officers at schools offering online courses and programs agree or strongly agree that OER has the potential to save them money. The percent agreement drops off sharply for schools that have no online presence (from 69% to 50%) with institutions offering only online courses closer to institutions with online programs (67%). With online learning becoming essential in K12 and higher education, like flipped classroom pedagogy, digital learning resources like OER will surely play a crucial role in digital curriculum. Because searching and management tool like Gooru comes to rescue, the barriers to adopt OER might be removed.
No doubt Pearson is taking a leadership strategy that hopefully will help using OER much easier, reduce textbook cost and make learning materials diversified and learning opportunities enriched.
- A Guide to Using Open Educational Resources in Marketing Education (classroom-aid.com)
- One Big Happy Family of OPEN – How to Get Faculty to Embrace Open Educational Resources (classroom-aid.com)
- Pearson unveils OER search engine (insidehighered.com)
- Pearson Project Will Let Professors Mix Free and Paid Content in E-Textbooks (chronicle.com)