Facilitating the Integration of Open Educational Courses

Facilitating the Integration of Open Educational Courses

Yolanda Debose Columbus (University of North Texas at Dallas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2205-0.ch003
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The open educational movement is primarily about facilitating a philosophical view: the idea that universal access to quality education should be a global priority. Open educational courses are byproducts of the implementation of this philosophy. Unfortunately, the principles that are fueling the open educational movement are in direct opposition to the typical culture found in higher education institutions in the United States. The lack of awareness of or indifference to these cultural differences can hinder the integration of open educational resources. Successful integration of open educational courses into degreed programs requires an acknowledgement of the cultural dissonance that may result as well as a systematic plan for addressing it. This chapter highlights some of these cultural differences and outlines a framework for addressing them.
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In ‘Winning by degrees’ McKinsey & Company, report that the United States’ post-secondary education system is not producing enough graduates to sustain its’ current economic growth (Auguste, et. al., 2010). In order to produce, the needed number of graduates the education system would need to produce approximately 23% more graduates each year. The top producing institutions are improving their degree productivity by increasing cost efficiencies. One of the five strategies these institutions employ is extensive course redesign.

McKinsey & Company described the strategies and tactics employed by the 8 of the top producing post-secondary institutions. Some of these tactics are contrary to the typical behaviors practiced and expected in four-year post-secondary institutions. For instance, Rio Salado and Western Governor’s employ a large number of part-time instructor or course mentors and centralized course development (Augueste, et., al., 2010). At four-year post-secondary institutions, the number of part-time faculty members are typical minimal and course development is traditionally left in the hands of the faculty members. Hence, many administrators are looking for other innovative ways to implement extensive course redesign. As a result of the mainstream media coverage and seemingly low cost, open educational courses seem to be a viable option. To date no institutions have integrated open educational courses into degreed program (Ackerman & Zellenr, 2012).

The open educational movement is well funded and supported. The announcement of MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative in 2000 is generally considered the catalyst that spurred the open educational movement (Smith, 2009). Since MIT’s creation of the OCW Consortium, the movement has gained momentum and popularity.

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