Open educational resources are a mainstay at Open High School of Utah, a Salt Lake City, UT-based public charter school that opened its virtual doors to students in 2009. Free for students, the institution was founded by David Wiley, an associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University and the founder of OpenContent.org.
Wiley said he wanted to create a school that relied completely on open content for its instructional subject matter. His vision is playing out successfully at Open High School, which gleans about 90 percent of its coursework from such resources. Teachers are given six to nine months to gather materials and develop their own curriculum before presenting the content, which is housed entirely on the Web and accessible to users on a 24/7 basis.
Being one of the first high schools in the nation to rely almost entirely on open resources has been both challenging and rewarding for the staff at Open High School. Here, DeLaina Tonks, director, discusses the school’s OER strategies and reveals how the innovative institution works through the challenges associated with open content.