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U.S. Government Funds Open Educational Resources

March 10, 2011

Admission Impossible (David Morris cc-by-sa)

Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, comments on his website about the U.S. government’s plan to provide $2 billion (U.S.) for the creation of Open Educational Resources. He describes this development as a “game changer”. He highlights the issues that arrise when schools and universities choose to make use of  free educational material that is created in the U.S. Local authors and publishers may suffer, and an American-focussed curriculum could spread to other countries. More support from the Canadian government for the creation of local resources would help. Two New Zealand-based initiative are worth mentioning in this context. WikiEducator, a site for collaborating in the production and hosting of Open Educational Resources, is supported by the Open Educational Resource Foundation, which is based at the Otago Polytechnic. Wayne Mackintosh is the Founding Director of the OERF and the International Centre for Open Education, which are also based at the Otago Polytechnic, an institution that has taken a leading role in the advancement of Open Education.

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