Open Educational Resources (OER) have become an unstoppable development since MIT started publishing educational resources online as OpenCourseWare (OCW) in 2001. Four years ago, the OCW Consortium was founded, and more that 250 institutions have since joined. The OCW Consortium is the largest international OER organization, but there are many other OER initiatives and organizations. At present, hundreds of higher education institutions worldwide produce, reuse, and remix educational materials. The fact that educational content is becoming more widely available—free and online—leads to the question: What role will colleges and universities play in the future? Some in higher education fear that when institutions “give away” their content, the only added value they have left is certification, turning colleges and universities from institutions of knowledge into educational certification factories.
Colleges and universities have no reason to view OER as a threat. On the contrary, OER can help institutions provide higher education to rapidly increasing numbers of students and lifelong learners. Traditional colleges and universities, with their experience and reputation, are in a good position to further develop online teaching, testing, learning communities, and certification. Those that produce high-quality knowledge, teaching, and students have little to fear, and much to gain, from Open Educational Resources.