Thank you for the post. You raise an important issue. As a non-Canadian (non-American) I think your post has two dimensions which are important in the discussion of the “inherent imperialistic nature” of OER:

1. National, regional, or personal identity

On one side a person finding OERs as an educator or learner with a strongly established national, regional, or personal identity is also embedded in well defined contexts. They will probably have a tendency to look generally critical at OERs developed in another context as they will discover conflicts with their own (valued) contexts. Which must not be negative, it can be an enriching experience.

On the other side if a person does not have such a strong established national, regional, or personal identity due to for example political, economic, or societal changes with associated changes in values, they do live in variable contexts. Here they are more prone to OERs and absorption of their “inherent imperialism of culture”. They are in search of new contexts and thus susceptible to the messages contained in the OERs available. The danger arises from the a) educational lighttowers (MIT, etc.) and the lack of choice.

2. Availability of choice of OER

The big educational institutions were amongst the first to make OER available on a large scale. If that would have the effect to shy others away to do it likewise, then we would have a problem. But I have the feeling that humans take great pride in reinventing the wheel – a little different context allows for justification of the effort. Very helpful in doing that is the internet in making the publication of OER cheap and easy. We would have a great problem if OER where paper-book based.

So we can have and probably will have a great diversity of OERs to choose from. In the end this will lead to the survival of the fittest in a given context. (I finally got the curve to Darwin.) I am definitely in favor of biodiversity of OER so that the best suited for each context can be chosen.