MINNEAPOLIS – The new textbooks in Michael Engelhaupt’s statistics class at Blaine High School are kind of cheap and won’t last long, but he doesn’t mind. After all, he wrote them.
Instead of mass-produced textbooks, the more than 3,100 sophomores in the state’s largest district are learning from an online curriculum developed by their teachers over the summer with free software distributed over the web.
– via The Republic, “Anoka-Hennepin teachers write their own online textbook, save district $175,000”
After being used this school year and tweaked next summer, the resources will be made freely available on the Internet. Teachers recognized that creating own material would allow for easy local customization.
It is the ease of local customization that is going to be the key for Open Education Resources. Once it is fully understood that like any educational resource, OER needs to be tweaked for local uses, then the true value of OER will be realized. The savings in OER comes not only from the adoption of freely available materials, but also in the ease with which the resources can be adopted to local uses.
The same should apply for OER in legal education. Materials for a course in Torts are not intended to replace a professor teaching Torts but rather to provide a freely available foundation that the professor can use to create a unique course of their own.