Over the eight years of the Obama Administration, OER has gained considerable momentum. The first major policy was the inclusion of an open licensing requirement for educational resources created through the $2 billion Department of Labor TAACCCT workforce training program, which spread to other grant programs in other agencies and a department-wide policy at Labor (Tepe, 2016). National commitments to Open Education were included in the 2nd and 3rd U.S. Open Government National Action plans (Wiens & Tarkowski, 2015), and OER was listed as an allowable use of funds in a major education grant program passed by Congress (Cavanagh, 2016). A third of U.S. states have joined the #GoOpen campaign, which aims to expand OER in primary and secondary schools.
The experience in the United States illustrates how policy and politics can be an important element in advancing OER, both directly and indirectly. Open licensing policies such as the TAACCCT program have directly resulted in more OER becoming available, and high-level calls to action like #GoOpen have provided the impetus for local OER efforts. The policymaking process itself also can have an impact by raising awareness of OER and providing political “cover” for additional reforms. Now the focus will be on adjusting OER advocacy and policy implementation efforts for the very different political climate following the 2016 election.
The session will explore all of these aspects of the past, present and future of OER advocacy in the United States, and offer insights that may be useful to compare, contrast and adapt in other political contexts.
Cavanagh, Sean. (January 20, 2016). “Open Education Resources Get Major Boost From ESSA”, Education Week.
Tepe, Lindsey (2016). The Case for Open Use Policies. Available from https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/policy-papers/case-open-use-policies/
Weins, Kelsey & Tarkowski, Alek. (Eds.). (2016). Global Open Policy Report. Available from https://creativecommons.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/StateofOpenPolicyFullReport_FINAL-1-1-1-1.pdf