School Business Affairs July-August 2020

16 JULY/AUGUST 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS FORECASTING AND FUNDING Open and Online: Leveraging High- Quality Open Educational Resources Open educational resources offer no-cost curriculum alternatives amid challenges of remote learning and uncertain financial futures. By Jason Isaacs A bout 20 years ago, the open educational resources (OER) movement launched in higher education when the MIT OpenSourceWare project made the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s entire course catalog available online. Today, open educational resources span K–12 and higher education to transform the way educators access and implement curricula. They are creating new oppor- tunities within procurement to stretch budgets and allow schools to reinvest funds previously allocated for traditional curricula in other areas, such as professional learning, with the potential for a greater impact on stu- dent achievement. Defining OER Open educational resources were created to combat dependence on traditional, costly textbook curricula and supplemental materials. They cover a wide spectrum of digital resources that are openly licensed and freely available online. The quality of the resources varies greatly, depending on the authoring source. For example, although a vast amount of educational content can be found on websites where teachers post individual lesson plans, much of the content lacks sufficient peer review and quality assurance. This need for expert quality control has given rise to NADEZHDA1906/STOCK.ADOBE.COM