What Effectiveness and Sustainability Means for Libraries’ Impact on Open Education
Carmen Kazakoff-Lane / Extension Librarian / Brandon University John E. Robbins Library / Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
In 2009, librarians started waking up to an emerging open education movement. It began in earnest with a 2009 ACRL / SPARC forum at an ALA Midwinter Meeting, where advocates for Open Educational Resources (OERs) spoke about OERs and the roles libraries could play in supporting them (SPARC & ACRL, 2009). It was further advanced as an important professional issue with the emergence into popular consciousness of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in 2011. Thus, in the last few years, open education has become an important topic in the professional literature, with discussions around library support largely focused on the phenomenonof MOOCs.
Libraries can and should support open education. It fits with librarians’ professional support for access to information as a public good, the institutional mandate of academic libraries to support teaching and research, and the professional obligations of librarians in public libraries to support continuing education. But before libraries do so, it is useful to understand the open education movement as a whole, including some of the key challenges facing both OERs and MOOCs and how libraries are well positioned to help address these challenges. By taking a holistic approach, libraries can aid the movement to facilitate universal, affordable, quality education for the peoples of the world and ensure that institutions, faculty, funding agencies, and governments avoid pathways to open education that might prove detrimental to scholarship as well as to society as a whole.
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