Session 2P | Exploring the Value of Open Education Labor




Urban, April

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Texas Digital Library


Advocates of Open Educational Resources (OER) promote cost savings as a key incentive for faculty's creation and use of OER. However, in this promotion, questions of the value of OER and associated labor can be overlooked. This session will explore how value and labor are understood in OER discourse. OER creation and sharing require significant time investment from faculty, librarians, and others. Do grant program stipends adequately reflect the value of this labor? Does the time-intensive labor of OER creation reinforce existing inequities in higher education? Contingent faculty may not be able to participate in OER practices. Further, do students recognize the value of OER as comparable to high-cost textbooks? Students may not fully distinguish OER from pirated textbooks or free online content that lacks credibility. This presentation will examine alternative ways of valuing OER using Lazzarato’s (1996) concept of “immaterial labor.” Attention toward the value of not only time but expertise may provide opportunities to advocate for OER recognition in promotion and tenure requirements. Moreover, discussing the value of OER with students can align with information literacy goals.