Commentary on Tuomi’s text

In his paper Open Educational Resources: What they are and why they do matter Ilkka Tuomi develops an elaborate definition of OER. Tuomi does state his opinion right at the beginning: he is convinced of OER to change the education radically in the next years: a new approach to learning and knowledge creation.We get to know different perspectives.

Coming from the Open Source Movement Tuomi starts to investigate the term Openness: he states that there are social characteristics such as freedom to use, to contribute and to share (so with OER this is most often the case because of IPR)- as well as technical characteristics such as a deeper insight to interoperability (not only the interface standards) and availibility of technical specifications. For the economic side he makes an intersting differentiation between a private resource (which is not open but rival), a common pool, a public good and an open fountain. So an OER requires to be a non-rival good that find itself at one of the following levels of openess:

I: provide non-discriminatory access to information and knowledge about the resource
II: services that can be enjoyed by anybody
III: can be contributed to (in a defined way – Mertonian norms)
Levels are non-normative, meaning Level III is not better than Level I.

Educational: Tuomi defines learning as an individiual and social development.

Resources – the defintion of “resource” is a stock or supply of materials or assets that can be drawn on in order to function effectively. Resource is used in very varying contexts.

Commentary: this is a comprehensive article on the definition of Open Educational Resources and I’m glad I read it. In my eyes the definiton got a bit heterogeneous – so we have Open Source Products for Learning and Open Access Journals included? It makes sense with the definiton – no doubt. But in my eyes a heterogenous definition weakens the movement.

On the other hand I find it a bit timid to say that there’s no normative differentation between the three levels of openess. Surely Level III would enhance a lot more the possibilities for learning & teaching, so why don’t we say this and also welcome other levels? Just politics?


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