Motivation in itself is an interesting topic. Why does anyone choose to do anything? The question here is why would one choose to participate in open education. There are a number of ways to think about this. I am approaching this entry in an attempt to answer the following: why would someone choose to contribute their educational materials, items and content he or she has created and/or collected, to the open educational resources movement?
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I do find some resistance among faculty to do this – to allow their course materials to be used in a way that might make them available to other instructors to teach the same class. The value in this scenario is placed on the materials, not on the instruction. The instruction however is critically important to the learning process. Who hasn’t been enrolled in that class where the subject matter was interesting, the materials engaging, but the experience overall unsatisfying due to the specific style, techniques, approach, etc. of the instructor? And the other extreme, when the material is not particularly interesting or engaging on its own, but is brought to life somehow by an amazing instructor.
I reviewed the following documents and invite you to take a look as well.
- Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education: Panel on Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies (Wiley, 2006)
Possible Incentives to Participate in Open Education Initiatives
Participating in something larger than oneself.
Life in academia can be, well, isolated. The opportunity to add to a larger collaboration, a larger knowledge base, in intriguing and gets back to basics in a way – focusing on knowledge and learning, not on profitability and credit. Important to note I think that open resources often do credit the author. So this participation doesn’t have to be anonymous.
Actively staying current and connected.
Meeting the expectations of today’s tech-savvy students is part of this movement. Creating digital versions of materials that can be easily accessed and shared is an important step toward adding to the open educational resource collective.
Wiley (2006, p. 7). includes this great Deming quote: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Making a change is a choice. One must make a lot of decisions regarding change – how to change, when to change, etc.These decisions exist when moving toward open education.
Engaging in the ultimate collaboration effort.
Joining an open education effort is in some way collaboration on a very large scale. Creating formats of your work that can be added to existing collections, databases, etc. means connecting your work to that which has come before and encouraging the expansion of your work to that which will come after.
Showing and telling.
We want to tell people about what we are doing, right? We want to show others in our field and out what we are involved in and how important it is. Contributing to open education resources is a way to disseminate work to a greater extent than an article or conference presentation might achieve. The goal is the same though, to inform others with the same or similar missions. Accessing others’ work in this way, in turn we might hope to be informed by what they have done.
Donating to a good cause
- The UN Commission on Human Rights addresses, although not completely clearly, the right of everyone to education. Adding to open education resources could result in a teacher or school in some other part of the world (remote, impoverished, in conflict) accessing instructional materials not usually available, both in quantity and quality. Availability of such resources may even help students/learners who don’t have access to formal education, but may be able to access open educational materials in some other way.