Notes from “Enhancing Course Design and Student Engagement with OER”, presented by Kimberly Barss, from Excelsior College, at the 2015 Quality Matters (QM) conference.
Excelsior College students are adult (on average 39-40) and 40% military. They are working, busy, and definitely non-traditional.
The course Kimberly worked with was Technology and Society, and focused on using technology, energy management solutions, and interpreting and applying data in decision making. They wanted to find a simulation or game to serve as a foundation for the course.
What is OER?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials which are created with a spirit of sharing and opening up the locked box of advanced knowledge which is the tradition of higher education. The materials (which could include text, images, audio, video, games, simulations, and more) are licensed using Creative Commons licenses which allow you to reuse the materials within limitations of sharing alike, non-commercial, no derivatives, or combinations of those.
Great sources of OER:
- MERLOT: an repository of OER organized by type and field
- Google: Use the Advanced Search options to limit the Usage Rights
- OER Commons: A dynamic library and network of OER
- Cool 4 Ed: a collaboration of universities in California that searches MERLOT; coolest feature is the ability to search with an ISBN of a textbook to find related FREE ebooks
Even more resources available at tinyurl.com/o2qvt45
- Identify: determine what types of tools or OER content you want to use in your course; make a list of search terms related to those items
- Consult: ask others who may have access or knowledge about materials already such as a librarian or faculty member who has a good relationship with a publisher representative
- Locate: begin your search with OER repositories and then move to Google if you need to search further
- Evaluate: go through the resource to determine if it meets your needs; hopefully you are already reviewing your textbook this carefully so it isn’t really extra time. Be sure to check for accessibility of the material/tool and to determine if there is sufficient student support for students to be successful. Use the QM rubric to guide your evaluation of alignment, technology, ADA, interaction, assessment, and learner support
- Integrate: build your material into your course plan (map to your objectives!) and post it in your course (author note: use embed code if you can, for videos or simulations, since it is easier for students to use within your LMS. Otherwise, you can always just post a link to it)
- Review: check your course periodically to determine if the OER is still meeting your needs and to determine if there are better materials available