Open Educational Resources and Prior Learning Assessment: Online Educational Programs

Open Educational Resources and Prior Learning Assessment: Online Educational Programs

Peter McCarthy (Lane College, USA), Karleah Harris (Miami University, USA) and Alec Sithole (Missouri Western State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5255-0.ch001

Abstract

High unemployment rates discourage workers from quitting their jobs and return to the classroom as students. On account of that, many students prefer to enroll in online programs while they are still on their jobs. But the lack of a comprehensive knowledge on how to successfully enhance education through open degree programs and prior learning assessment remains a real challenge to educational institutions. This chapter discusses some aspects and use of open educational resources and prior learning assessments as they relate to online educational programs.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

The introduction of open educational resources into the education field is revolutionizing the way education is delivered and acquired worldwide. A plethora of factors are contributing to this transformation from the traditional educational setting. Among them, the increasing cost of postsecondary education and high unemployment rate remain the prime drivers of this change. On the other hand, the high unemployment rates discourage employees from quitting their jobs and enrolling as full-time students in face-to-face learning environments. For there is no guarantee of reinstatement to their jobs after they complete their studies. Thus, many students prefer to enroll in online programs while they are still on their jobs. Consequently, many postsecondary institutions are designing curricula in the form of hybrid or online educational programs. While there are texts written on the topics: educational resources, prior learning assessment, open degree plans, and competency-based learning, there is a lack of a comprehensive text covering all of the topics on “enhancing education through open degree programs and prior learning assessment”. However, the lack of a comprehensive knowledge on how to successfully enhance education through online educational resources remains a real challenge to educational practitioners. This paper attempts to cover some of the topics on open educational resources, and prior learning assessments as they relate to online programs, as part of the broad topic under consideration for this book. The target audience for this paper are: instructors at higher education, undergraduates and graduate students. It is also for college and university administrators who may consider open degree programs and prior learning assessment, student learning assessment, and student success as well as researchers working in the areas of adult education.

For about a decade or two ago, the climate and acceptance of open access publishing has been totally different from what we all see today. During those periods, graduate supervisors would argue that online publications were not viable option due to lack of scholarly recognition, prestige of a paper publication, or permanency. The confusion that reflects on the explanation might be the difference between online resources and those described as open access, as well as change in academic acceptance and use of open access products during the past decade (Anderson, 2013). The development from paper publication to open access utility has become a welcoming one in which lower cost and increased accessibility of higher education opens the online product to a completely new group of users as well as potential users from all parts of the world and available to support citizen science (Silvertown, 2009). [Citizen Science, see below]

Open Access

There has been many definitions for open access scholarly publication. Budapest Open Access Initiative (Anderson, 2013), provides a common definition. This explains open access as:

free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited (p.2).

This definition places emphasis on access as well as redistribution of online resources. Online Access Resources (OAR) are limited to materials available only on the Web. Although the many of open access scholarly works might be seen as published work on the Web, scholarly works published and distributed in any medium such as online text, whose copyright has expired can be, and many are, published in print, and audio formats. However, it is not definitely true that a scholarly content distributed on the Web is an open access material. This becomes obvious when a reader is invited to add an article to the “shopping cart” and make payment with credit card, master card, etc.

Top

Motivation For Open Access

Instructors in higher education, students, and researchers, as well as funders have varied interest in open access resources (Anderson, 2013). Some of these are as discussed below.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset