Open Education has a long history, and recent developments in open licensing and technology have taken the movement to a tipping point. “Open” has become the buzz word in many educational communities, and Open Textbooks especially has generated wide interest. Pilot programs like this one in Washington, have demonstrated tremendous cost savings potential compared to traditional textbooks. Entrepreneurs are investing more in innovative technologies, and in turn increasing the interactivity and distribution potential of open education platforms. These developments have led to what some call an “educational renaissance”, and has even prompted some states and the federal governments to incorporate OER in to the public education system.
The losers in this story are the publishing industry and their supporters, who have relied on a monopoly on copyrighted textbooks for profit. Their resistance to the flurry of OER efforts throughout the nation is perhaps the best illustration of the shifting landscape in education. The following are some prominent examples of this struggle: