An Analysis of the Realistic Dilemma and Improvement Measures of the Open Educational Resources Platform in the United States

Open Educational Resource (OER) is based on the concept of knowledge sharing, using the Internet as a channel, placing knowledge in the public domain, providing learners with a free resource network of learning materials, and learners can freely adapt without copyright restrictions. And disseminate resource content [1]. The term OER came into being in the discussion of the UNESCO Open Courseware Impact Forum in 2002. After years of development, it has evolved from a concept to a practice. For learners, OER offers them a unique opportunity to access resources and support high-quality learning resource sharing in an increasingly digital world. In April 2018, the Education Informationization 2.0 Action Plan issued by the Ministry of Education clearly pointed out the shortcomings of China’s digital education resources, such as the lack of development and service capabilities. This is mainly due to the fact that there are still copyright restrictions in China’s digital education resource service platform. Limitations such as shortage of resources and difficulty in ensuring quality. Therefore, the construction of a digital education resource platform is imminent. Before the word OER was officially proposed, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the Open Course Ware (OCW) in 2001, which opened the curtain of the OER movement [2]. In this respect, the United States is very representative. After more than a decade of development, its achievements are self-evident. However, in recent years, the construction of the US OER platform seems to have entered a bottleneck period, and problems have gradually emerged. Therefore, the analysis of the difficulties and improvement measures in the development of the US OER platform can provide reference for the construction of China’s digital education resource platform.

First, the real dilemma of the development of the US OER platform

Since 2001, through the promotion mechanism based on real demand, the planning mechanism based on the federal regulations, the guarantee mechanism based on the coordination of the states, and the implementation mechanism of the school district application as the representative of the four-level operation mechanism Driven by this, OER has a wider popularity and audience in the United States. However, the intensification of national competition and the increasing demand for education quality have accelerated the pursuit of high quality and efficient educational resources for teachers and students. The original OER is increasingly unable to meet the needs of learners, and its resource carrying platform has gradually fallen into the following Dilemma.

(1) The lack of fit between the resource content and the state’s common core standards

Based on the various standards in each state of the United States, there is no adequate knowledge and skills to provide students with an understanding of the capabilities required to compete globally. In June 2010, the National Governors Association and the State The Council of Chief State Schools has published Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for US K-12 mathematics and English language arts in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts. Establish clear and realistic learning expectations for each state to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for university and entry [3]. Educational resources (including OERs) vary from country to country to varying degrees. The survey shows that the lack of fit between the teaching resources in the OER platform and the knowledge domains required by CCSS is mainly reflected in the fact that existing K-12 OERs tend to be separate classroom activities or limited to searchable courses in the repository, but not included. The CCSS requires comprehensive student materials, teacher guides, and syllabus to meet the full curriculum resources of the entire set of content standards at a specific grade level [4]. This may make teachers lack the integrity of the educational resources obtained through the OER platform, and the lack of connection with CCSS may eventually lead to teaching bias.

(2) The issue of resource quality is increasingly prominent

On the one hand, quality curriculum resources should be reflected in their coherence. This coherent performance helps teachers transition from this year’s curriculum to the next year, from one idea to another, from one statement to a variety of other statements implied by this statement, but current resources have not yet motivated teachers to remain Consistency in teaching, logic, and concepts [5]. While current states, schools, and teachers are more likely than ever to access the tools and resources to develop their teaching materials, the power and technical support needed to develop consistent, high-quality course materials that meet the teaching needs is large and complex. Not widely supported and implemented. In recent years, educators and policy makers have complained that most OERs are of inferior quality. On the other hand, because learners have free access to OER content and support their ability to reuse, adapt, or republish content without the original author’s permission, resource quality is difficult to secure. For example, if you quickly search for “calculating the area of ​​a circle” on a platform, there will be more than 55,000 videos [6], which makes it difficult for learners to find and identify the resources that apply to them in a reasonable time. As learners’ requirements for resource quality increase, the difficulty of OER quality will hinder its development.

(3) The teacher’s awareness of actively using OER is weak

The participation of teachers in the OER platform directly affects the promotion and development of OER. It can even measure whether it can enrich the curriculum design with massive resources and promote the educational activities to be consistent with the training objectives of the states. However, the current phenomenon of teachers actively applying OER to teaching is still insufficient. According to a report by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), OER has little or no support for teachers in setting math goals and organizing resources into a coherent learning process due to low teacher involvement. In addition, the resources that students can use vary from teacher to school. Because of the lack of experience, teachers are unable to choose resources for students, which leads students to struggle, which will aggravate the inequality of education [7]. According to a survey conducted by RAND in New York State, 80% to 90% of teachers said that their school district requires them to use OER for teaching, showing that voluntary use is less [8]. Therefore, the active participation of teachers has not reached the expected goal, which makes the OER platform in trouble in resource organization and integration and implementation. This aspect reflects that teachers are accustomed to traditional teaching and are unwilling to change the status quo of teaching. On the other hand, it also reveals that the quality of OER is not good, which leads teachers to be unwilling to use it. Its advantages have not been truly demonstrated in the teacher group.

Second, the analysis of the improvement measures of the US OER platform

It can be seen from the above analysis that the biggest dilemma of the OER platform at this stage is that the quality of resources is not high, and this has become a major obstacle to its popularization and sharing. The OER’s bearer platform has also noticed this point, and has adjusted and supplemented the platform content to ensure the dual guarantee of quality and quantity.

(1) Establish an authoritative team and build supporting resources

After the federal government issued CCSS, the states continued to act to improve the digital education resources of the existing platforms, or to establish a new platform, and strive to cooperate with CCSS, and promote the promotion of OER while promoting the teaching of K-12 in the country. Under the will. Among them, the representative is the OER Library in Washington State, the K-12 OER Collaboration Network in Utah, and the Engage NY platform in New York. They all have open-licensed K-12 courseware and are compliant with CCSS-related standards, offering a wider range of choices for school districts with more frequent updates than traditional textbooks. In order to build an authoritative OER platform with CCSS, each state is very cautious in the choice of resource development team. Taking the Engage NY platform in New York as an example, the New York State Government finally screened and cooperated with five non-profit organizations. The mission of the non-profit organization Great Minds is to create and deliver a comprehensive education for all American students. To achieve this mission, the organization unites school teachers and students to produce standardized teaching materials and share them. In particular, its mathematics curriculum has earned accolades at the state and national levels, and is the only comprehensive mathematics curriculum that meets CCSS for each grade. Therefore, it is responsible for developing all mathematical resources in the platform [9]. The other four organizations, such as The Core Knowledge Foundation, are responsible for the development of English teaching resources in pre-school to grade 2, grades 3-8, grades 9-12, and grades 6-12 [10]. They have a shared vision of successfully implementing CCSS nationwide. For example, Odell Education’s four series of 6th-12th grade English teaching model modules developed in New York have played an important role in helping teachers interpret CCSS at the teaching level, because the English resources they create are compatible with CCSS. It is highly praised by the state and the country. When learners develop a teaching plan based on CCSS, the supporting OER will become the best resource selection channel for learners.

(2) Selecting evaluation agencies to ensure the quality of resources

One of the characteristics of the OER platform is that users can arbitrarily modify and upload shared resources without copyright restrictions, and it is difficult to guarantee the quality of resources while giving users full freedom. In this regard, the states actively cooperate with authoritative assessment agencies to regularly review resources. In order to ensure the superior quality of OER, Utah has partnered with Student Achievement Partners (SAP), a non-profit organization founded by CCSS’s leading developers, to ensure that the platform provides the necessary guidance to meet standards. In addition, the platform is actively seeking third-party verification, especially inviting the EdReports organization to act as a course reviewer to review resources. EdReports is a professional non-profit organization that advises OERs by professional educators to help the district or teachers identify the gap between the materials currently used and the new materials, and strives to provide teachers with excellent resources across the country. The importance of life. Its mission is to empower teachers, managers and leaders to seek, identify and deliver high-quality teaching materials to ensure that all levels of students have access to good educational resources. The significance of its existence is to provide a potential model for resource decision makers and providers to assess the consistency of materials with academic standards. To date, more than 70 courses in mathematics and English language arts have been reviewed and corresponding reports have been published [11]. These findings from EdReports guide resource providers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of academic programs so that they can provide targeted strategic support to teachers and ensure that the resources provided help students thrive. By leveraging EdReports’ independent reviews, Utah’s K-12 OER Collaboration Network ensures that its materials meet quality requirements.

(3) Update course feedback and lead resource development

In addition to the rigorous review of platform courses by researchers, states, and other organizations, the platform’s use of resources is equally targeted because the resources they use directly point to teaching, and this user experience best reflects the effectiveness of the resources. Sex, even about the future development of the platform. Therefore, in addition to using external forces to consolidate the quality of resources, each resource pool has set up feedback channels to launch the use of the power of the main body to correct the resources. The Engage NY platform in New York provides users with greater autonomy. If users have any comments on the course resources provided by the platform, they can submit a “course feedback form”. After the platform administrators review, they will make course improvements. . In this way, the feedback information is more targeted, and the administrator can quickly lock the content and make adjustments. With this approach, the resources of the platform continue to be consistent with the practice of user teaching and learning in the process of continuous improvement, and finally achieve a win-win situation that promotes the development of teaching activities for teachers and students and attracts more use groups for the platform. The future development of OER is becoming more and more clear.

(4) Setting up the Unicom network to promote resource connectivity

Since each OER platform is developed and maintained by the state’s education authorities to support the implementation of the state’s teaching reform agenda. Therefore, it is their unshirkable responsibility to provide users with quality educational resources. Each state seeks authoritative suppliers and review agencies and its own feedback channels to ensure quality, and externally builds a network of communications between states. On the one hand, this kind of communication refers to the integration of resource content. The promulgation of CCSS has enabled education standards in all states, and the content of digital education resources in various states has different degrees of convergence, which has narrowed the resource differences between the states. Therefore, states are more willing to use other channels to enrich and expand existing resources while creating the total amount of digital education resources. According to a survey conducted by the American Teachers Association (ATP) in the spring of 2016, about 30% of American mathematics teachers use the resources of Engage NY to support their teaching, except for New York State [12]. This kind of resource intercommunication gradually makes the states consolidate resources, constitutes the OER education ecosystem, and promotes the comprehensive coverage of OER. On the other hand, it refers to the sharing of resource procurement information, helping states to find high-quality OER suppliers, comparing OER policy orientation, review procedures, funding, etc., so that states can adjust OER development trends in a timely manner. The National Digital Textbook Purchasing Policy Portal is a state linkage platform that provides OER access policies and state resource procurement practices. This information sharing also enables resource providers, technology developers and investors to gain an in-depth understanding of the state’s friendliness in encouraging OER innovation and facilitate cross-state collaboration. By creating an interconnected resource circle, the states are able to fill the OER resources and use them as a basis to meet the individual needs of users.

Third, the enlightenment to the construction of digital education resource platform in China

Under the value appeal of “Digital Resource Service Popularization Action” and “Providing Massive and Appropriate Learning Resource Services for All Kinds of Schools and All Learners”, the experience of the US OER platform can be a digital education resource in China. Platform construction provides the following implications.

(1) Defining the development vision and building an open and shared digital environment

For the digital education resource platform, after the development vision and target tasks are established, follow-up work can be carried out one after another. OER is the product of “Internet + Education”. The purpose of the US official platform OER Commons is to enable educators to use free, open teaching resources that meet the individual needs of students, and to ensure that resources are up to date and that costs are not high quality resources. Obstacles [14]. Since its inception, New York’s Engage NY has also established its own development vision and mission, which is to promote teachers and students’ understanding of CCSS, strengthen their information literacy, broaden their knowledge domain, and ultimately help teachers’ professional development, student academic progress and CCSS. Implementation. In order to achieve the task, the platform first introduced standard-based English and mathematics supporting materials for the learners to download for free, setting the tone for the achievement of the task; secondly, the development plays a role in assisting the professional development of the role, expanding the video library, etc. Information feedback platform. In this way, the entire platform can provide open and shared educational resources for learners and contribute to the formation of a complete educational ecology.

It is precisely because of the clear vision of the target that constitutes a complete learning environment, the number of users of the platform is increasing day by day. The Education Informationization 2.0 Action Plan issued by the Ministry of Education of China highlights the tasks of Education Informatization 2.0, including “building an integrated Internet + education platform, introducing the platform + education service model, and integrating various educational resources at all levels. The public service platform and support system will gradually realize the interoperability, convergence and opening of the resource platform and management platform, and build a national public service system for digital education resources [15]. This sets the tone for the construction of digital education platform in China. Therefore, when building a digital education resource platform, China should make the platform clear its own development vision and tasks under the overall requirements of the country, so that the platform can develop in an orderly manner according to the route. In addition, it is necessary to create a system consistent with it to create a complete educational ecosystem. On the one hand, we must protect the copyright of digital education resources, and do a moderate relaxation in copyright, so that learners can freely use and modify according to their own reality; on the other hand, we must improve the sharing transaction mechanism so that resources can be used by learners. Communicate with each other to solve the bottleneck of resource supply and demand.

(2) Keeping pace with the curriculum standards and creating curriculum resources that fit in with them

The US OER platform has been well received on the one hand because its educational resources are matched with the state’s common core standards, which links teachers and students to the digital education resources led by CCSS and supports them to teach according to standards. It has a complete curriculum and modules covering the topics and content needed to support students throughout the year. For teachers, it provides a complete, high-quality, articulated teaching chain to help teachers establish a coherent learning goal process without deviating from the standard requirements. Each platform carefully screens the course team to create a quality curriculum resource that matches CCSS, so that the quality of resources can be guaranteed. Teachers use these resources to provide students with more instructional activities that meet the standards. On the other hand, provide students with an opportunity to explain and prove their learning. Taking mathematical resources as an example, under the same time and intensity, students can achieve three teaching objectives: conceptual understanding, process skills and practical scenarios. [16]

In China, the curriculum standard is a teaching guidance document that stipulates the nature of the curriculum, the objectives of the curriculum, the objectives of the content, and the implementation recommendations. At present, although there is a digital education resource platform sponsored by the government, it lacks supporting resources that are compatible with the curriculum standards. Some resources are compatible with the textbook version, and there are usage rights. Some platforms are rich in resources, but they cannot be uploaded by individuals. To ensure its quality; the digital education resource platform presents a clear disadvantage of poor service capabilities; if digital educational resources are provided in a form consistent with national curriculum standards, teachers are more willing to continue to use these resources for teaching, and to ensure consistency of the entire teaching activities. . Therefore, in the construction of China’s digital resource platform, the “command” of the curriculum standards should be closely followed, so that teachers can clarify the teaching direction and formulate correct teaching objectives; students can clearly understand the learning objectives and do a good job in learning planning; Create a matching boutique resource to protect the authority of resources.

(3) Improve the feedback mechanism and enhance the competitiveness of the platform’s comprehensive services

The quality of course resources is a key factor in determining the number and frequency of users of resource platforms. After downloading resources, users of the US OER platform can upload it twice if they have been transformed and innovated. This can also affect the quality of resources while enriching platform resources. Therefore, in terms of how to deal with the relationship between quantity and quality, the platform has designed a feedback mechanism to continuously improve both official and non-official resources. Any user in the platform has an opinion on the resources, and there is a feedback channel similar to the “course feedback form”, which directly refers to the problem content. After receiving the background, the content will be modified and published after the modification, in order to standardize the curriculum development and ensure the quality of resources. This promotes the platform’s comprehensive service capabilities of output, input, and feedback, and forms an innovative resource integration model.

The US “Maximum Online Open Course for Educators” (MOOC-Ed) platform was created to promote the professional development of teachers. It also has a feedback mechanism, which is simply to collect users by providing multiple forms of discussion. Discuss the differences and opinions arising from the same course, and then verify the results after integration [17]. The establishment of the feedback mechanism is also a unique manifestation of the platform. It attracts more audiences while improving the comprehensive service level of the platform, and makes the platform form a virtuous circle. Therefore, when constructing digital education resources, China should first determine the use of the subject, provide appropriate content for it, and allow resources to be transformed and shared. Secondly, provide feedback channels to let users speak their minds. Finally, the collection of feedback information should be fine, and the lesions can be directly found.

(4) Strengthening resource integration and condensing the auxiliary power of multi-party information bases

Another feature of the US OER platform is that the platform has different levels of cooperation with other states. This aspect promoted the promotion of the platform, deepened the development of the platform, and made its radiation range not limited to the state, but also established a network with other states to make the OER network cover the entire United States. On the other hand, the platform has a wealth of third-party resources to provide opportunities for teachers and students to expand their horizons. As the number of learners increases, so does the need for personalized knowledge. It is precisely because of these factors that the US OER platform allows users to modify the upload resources and set up links externally to facilitate resource integration and meet the user’s demand for resource quality and quantity.

The Education Informatization 2.0 Action Plan clearly states that it is necessary to build a national public service system for educational resources and to achieve full connectivity between the national resource platform and 32 provincial systems. It can be seen that China’s desire to realize the integration of digital education resources is urgent. Looking at the US OER platform and China’s digital education resource platform, it is common to set up discussion forums for users to discuss and communicate. However, it is not common to set up external links to expand resources. OER Commons is the official platform for open educational resources in the United States. Only the Help Center has set up a collaborative workspace for internal team creation, management, and discussion of OERs [18]. Therefore, in the construction of the digital education resource platform, it is necessary to establish full contact with the external resources. For example, the link between the Ministry of Education or the local education bureau can be set up in the platform to grasp the latest educational trends in real time and provide reference for the updating of platform resources. It is also possible for teachers and students to reflect on their own teaching and learning arrangements whether they are separated from the state requirements and prompt them to make corresponding adjustments in a timely manner.