- Visual representation of the design – how can the implicit OER design be made more explicit and hence shareable?
- Opinion of goodness – how appropriate is the OER for different contexts?
- Transferability through pedagogical patterns – how can generic patterns be applied to specific contexts?
- Layer of discussion, critique and contextualisation – how can social and participatory media act as a supporting structure to foster debate between those using the same OER?
On one level, I am happy to make any learning materials I produce freely available in microchunked formats to be consumed by learners (Martin Weller's "little OER"). I am unhappy about packaging such materials up into larger, static units which appear to offer the potential of supplanting teachers - death by repository - not because I'm worried about doing other people out of a job, but because this oversimplification of the process of acquiring wisdom (i.e. education), tends to overplay the acquisition of knowledge (i.e. training) and the importance of forming personal learning networks.
The industrialization of education pressurizes students and teachers alike to feel that education is a passive process, something that is done to them or they do to others - as long as both parties turn up, wisdom will happen. This externalization of knowledge acquisition masks the true outcome of education, acquisition of wisdom rather than of knowledge. Knowledge can be acquired via an Internet connection, wisdom cannot. That is why Illich was both right and wrong. Externalization of the acquisition of wisdom is as absurd as the idea that you can "teach" someone to be an entrepreneur, or beat it into them.
So why am I laying the blame for the crisis in higher education at the door of the OER industry? I'm not, but the OER industry is both a symptom of the malise (industrialization/externalization) and a partial cause (externalization/industrialization) of the crisis. That is what I am uneasy about. OERs are pretty much an unmitigated good, but only in small doses. The OER industry is bad. There, I said it. Again.