¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 As already explained, OER are not just materials that have been specifically designed for educational purposes, as any resource that complies with the 5R permissions is amenable to become OER, as long as someone finds it of value for teaching or learning. This means that many useful resources are not labelled as OER. Thus, learning to find Public Domain and openly licensed resources is the first thing educators who want to use OER need to do. In addition, there is a growing pool of projects and sites specifically devoted to sharing and enabling the remix of OER, some of which will be reviewed later this section.
3.2.1. Search Engines and Aggregators
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Some search engines offer the possibility of filtering results by usage rights, so it is possible to submit queries that only return content that can be modified and shared.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 For example, Google Advanced Search allows users to restrict results to just content that can be used, shared or modified, even for free. Another useful feature is that you can also filter by language, so you can specifically retrieve OER content in Arabic, or any other language particularly relevant to you or your students and colleagues.
- ¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0
- Search.creativecommons.org allows you to easily submit queries to a number of sites (e.g. Google, Flickr, YouTube, Pixabay) and retrieve only content that you can “use for commercial purposes” and/or “modify, adapt, or build upon.”
- Solvonauts.org has indexed more than 150,000 open resources from 1016 sites.
3.2.2. Generic Collections of Public Domain and Openly Licensed Content
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Below you can see some examples of websites offering different types of content and data available under Creative Commons licences or in the Public Domain, which you mind find of use in your teaching and learning.
|New York Public Domain Collections|
|CC curated music collection on the Free Music Archive||x|
3.2.3. Wikimedia projects
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Being one of the most visited websites worldwide every day and having most of its text and many of its images co-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), Wikipedia has been described as “the single greatest Open Education Resource the world has ever seen” (by Jim Groom in his keynote at the OER16 Conference).
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Despite widespread concerns at universities about using it as a formal academic reference, due to the fact that anyone can contribute to it, Wikipedia plays an important role in the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) of many students (and academics). Rather than banning its use, institutions are starting to recognise its value as a learning resource, not as a source of information to be cited, but also by involving students in editing articles, enhancing the quality of content, and helping to improve areas of knowledge and topics that are underrepresented. Under the Wikipedia Education Programme many universities are already embedding the use of this encyclopedia, and other sister initiatives, into teaching and learning.
— Bryan Mathers (@BryanMMathers) April 6, 2017
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 For further ideas, examples and suggestions on creating learning activities and assignments around Wikipedia, you may wish to consult a series of brochures published by the Wikimedia Foundation as part of the Wikipedia Education Programme:
- ¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0
- Instructor Basics: How to use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool
- Case Studies: How professors are teaching with Wikipedia
- The Essentials: What to do before the term start
- The Syllabus: A12-week assignment to write a Wikipedia article
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Whereas Wikipedia is the most popular project within the Wikimedia family, there are many other initiatives of Wikimedia Foundation that can be extremely valuable as OER, such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata or Wikiversity.
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 “Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, but you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted here. The repository is created and maintained not by paid archivists, but by volunteers. The scope of Wikimedia Commons is set out on the project scope pages. […] Unlike traditional media repositories, Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately and releasing copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page. The Wikimedia Commons database itself and the texts in it are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.” https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Welcome
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Wikibooks was launched in 2003 and currently hosts books in many languages and on a wide range of subjects covering the Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Subject:Books_by_subject
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 “Wikibooks is a Wikimedia project for collaboratively writing open-content textbooks that anyone, including you, can edit right now by clicking on the edit link that appears near the top of each Wikibooks page. […] Contributors maintain the property rights to their contributions, while the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License and the GNU Free Documentation License makes sure that the submitted version and its derivative works will always remain freely distributable and reproducible.” https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Welcome
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 “Wikibooks is for textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides, and manuals. These materials can be used in a traditional classroom, an accredited or respected institution, a home-school environment, as part of a Wikiversity course, or for self-learning. As a general rule, only instructional books are suitable for inclusion. Non-fictional books (as well as fictional ones) that aren’t instructional aren’t allowed on Wikibooks. Literary elements, such as allegory or fables, that are used as instructional tools can be permitted in some situations.” https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:What_is_Wikibooks
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 “Wikiversity is a community effort to learn and facilitate others’ learning. You can use Wikiversity to find information or ask questions about a subject you need to find out more about. You can also use it to share your knowledge about a subject, and to build learning materials around that knowledge.”
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 “In Wikiversity, you can find learning materials of all types to use yourself as self-study materials. If you are interested in learning about a subject, browse our content to see if there is anything that suits your needs. It would also be helpful if you comment on the materials you use, so that we can continually improve our resources.
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Also, if you want to meet other people who are interested in your subject, you may want to join a learning community devoted to that subject (or help create one if one doesn’t yet exist). You may find someone there who can help you with your learning, or you may want to help someone else with what you already know (or have just found out).”
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 “Wikiversity is designed to collect a range of learning materials for various uses. These materials are designed, not just for self-study, but also as material which can be used in your classroom. What we aim to provide is a way of searching for content easily, which can be printed/saved and used in class—as well as a lesson plan to guide you through this material.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 As Wikiversity is a work in progress, there is always content that can be added. We would really appreciate any content you have that you would be willing to provide, and maybe also an indication of what you have done with it, and how that worked. In this way, we hope to build a living resource of real use to teachers, not only in their classrooms, but also as somewhere to improve teaching practice through sharing materials and experiences.” https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:What_is_Wikiversity%3F
¶ 24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 “Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. Wikidata acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikisource, and others. Wikidata also provides support to many other sites and services beyond just Wikimedia projects! The content of Wikidata is available under a free license, exported using standard formats, and can be interlinked to other open data sets on the linked data web.” https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Main_Page
¶ 25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 A very interesting example of how Wikidata can be used to power other valuable initiatives for teaching and learning is Histropedia, which enables the creation of timelines by pulling data from Wikidata.
¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 “Histropedia is an open platform, designed to allow the world to collaborate and share their historical knowledge. We will achieve this open platform by a) making all the data we import from Wikipedia editable by the public, b) ensuring the site is completely free to use, and c) by publishing all timelines created by users of Histropedia under an open licence so anyone can share them with the world.” http://histropedia.com/about.html
3.2.4. OER directories, libraries and collections
¶ 27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Over the last years many institutions, organisations and individuals have engaged in the provision of OER by developing repositories and collections specifically created with the aim of sharing and enabling the reuse of resources for teaching and learning purposes. In this sections we review a few well-known initiatives that might help you find useful resources.
¶ 30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 OER Commons is a directory of resources linking to content produced by a wide range of projects and initiatives, offering a single point of access to more than 50,000 high-quality OER. It aggregates content from a wealth of well established OER providers, such as MIT OpenCourseWare or Rice University’s OpenStax College. The full list of providers can be consulted at https://www.oercommons.org/oer/providers.
- ¶ 32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0
- Full university courses
- Interactive mini-lessons and simulations
- Adaptations of existing open work
- Open Textbooks
- K-12 Lesson Plans, worksheets, and activities
¶ 33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 A subset with more than 4,000 resources in Arabic is available as part of the project at https://arabic.oercommons.org. For further details consult the case study included in the OpenMed Compendium.
¶ 35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 Another example is Teaching Commons, which gathers open-access textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, lectures and other materials from colleges and universities.
¶ 36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 OCW is a very specific model of OER provision that offers “high quality college and university‐level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content” (Open Education Consortium).
¶ 37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Whereas the model was first developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2001, many other institutions have followed the same steps and launched their own MIT initiatives since then.
¶ 38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 The Open Education Consortium (formerly known as OCW Consortium) has built a meta search engine that allows querying from one single point the OCW repositories of many institutions around the world, including MIT’s.
¶ 40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 “Serendipity, unlike other traditional OER search engines, allows users explore in an integrated and incremental manner. It offers guided navigation, starting with a basic keyword and going through several filters to refine the desired search and access the full description of the courses as published by the home institution. The project is sponsored by the research group GICAC from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Universitad Particular Tecnica de Loja (UTPL) in collaboration with the Open Education Consortium (OEC).” http://www.oeconsortium.org/courses/ocw-search-engines/
¶ 42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 OpenStax CNX, formerly known as Connexions, is an initiative launched as early as in 1999 by Rice University that currently offers “tens of thousands of learning objects, called pages, that are organized into thousands of textbook-style books in a host of disciplines” (https://cnx.org/about).
¶ 43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 OpenStax CNX is designed to encourage the sharing and reuse of educational content. The knowledge in OpenStax CNX can be shared and built upon by all because it is reusable:
- ¶ 44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0
- educationally: We encourage authors to write each page to stand on its own so that others can easily use it in different collections and contexts specially designed for their students.
- technologically: all content is built in a simple semantic HTML5 format rich with built-in accessibility features to ensure it can all be read by everyone. Also the OpenStax CNX toolset makes it easy for author to create and adapt content using a word processor similar to Google Docs or Word.
- legally: all content produced in OpenStax is available under a Creative Commons open-content licenses. This makes it easy for authors to share their work – allowing others to use and reuse it legally – while still getting recognition and attribution for their efforts. The OpenStax CNX software maintains attribution to the original author for you, making remixing a cinch. (https://cnx.org/about)
¶ 45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 The BC Open Textbooks project has released a considerable number of OER manuals adapted and created by faculty in the post-secondary system of British Columbia (Canada). The titles cover an extremely wide range of disciplines and topics. As an example relevant to anyone following this course, we recommend taking a look at the book Teaching in a Digital Age, by the leading expert in the field of education and technology Tony W. Bates.
¶ 46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources has identified a list of open textbooks in the following areas: Anthropology & Archaeology, Art, Biology & Genetics, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Engineering & Electronics, English & Composition, Health & Nursing, History, Languages & Communications, Literature, Law, Math, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Science, Sociology, Statistics & Probability.
¶ 47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 The Open Textbook Library is an initiative aiming to address the issue of university students having to spend a substantial amount of money every year in textbooks in order to follow their courses. OTL offers a vast catalogue of peer-reviewed, free and openly-licensed books, in compliance with the 5R:
¶ 48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 “As part of our commitment to the 5Rs, a textbook with a No Derivatives component to the license (CC BY SA ND or CC BY ND) is not considered an open textbook. This is because ND licenses do not allow for revising and remixing. Although you may find some textbooks in our library with ND licenses, as of November, 2016 we are no longer accepting textbooks with that license.” http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/Ourbooks.aspx
¶ 49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 OTL is supported by a network of more than 50 institutions working to foster the adoption of open textbooks by lecturers in their teaching (http://research.cehd.umn.edu/otn).
Open Podcasts and Video Content
¶ 51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 For instance, the University of Oxford has shared thousands of podcasts featuring public lecturers and interviews with leading academics, as OER, by means of iTunes U and their own repository available at http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/open. Content is available under the CC BY-NC-SA licence.
¶ 53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 “The portal is aimed at promoting science, exchanging ideas and fostering knowledge sharing by providing high quality didactic contents not only to the scientific community but also to the general public. All lectures, accompanying documents, information and links are systematically selected and classified through the editorial process taking into account also users’ comments.” http://videolectures.net/site/about/
¶ 54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 While this is no doubt an extremely valuable source of educational content, it is worth noting that VideoLectures.net does not fit with the notion of OER as defined by the 5R permissions, given that videos are released under the CC BY-NC-ND, so users are not allowed to “alter, transform, or build upon the work” (http://videolectures.net/faq/).
¶ 55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Khan Academy is another example of a comprehensive collection on OER videos, which has evolved to include exercises, articles and a range of personalised learning tools. Rather than being an institutional initiative, it started with a single person – Salman Khan – recording video tutorials to help his cousin learn mathematics, and now it has grown to be an 80-person non-profit organisation. While not all the content is available as OER, most of the content on Khan Academy has been released under a CC licence that allows users to repurpose resources, as long as it is for non-commercial purposes.
¶ 57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 You are welcome to link to the materials on our website and in general, use the website offerings at www.khanacademy.org, as long as there is not a charge specific to using the resource (for example, if a tutor charges $20 per hour per student without Khan Academy but $30 per hour with Khan Academy, that breaks the noncommercial clause).
- ¶ 59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0
- Creative Commons (CC by NC SA) license (for video and exercise use)
- Terms of Service
- Trademark and Brand Usage Policy”
¶ 61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 Another interesting feature of this project is that much of the content, resources and tools have been translated as part of an ambitious project that involves dubbing and recreating videos in languages other than English:
¶ 62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 “The long-term goal of the translation project is to launch full-featured Khan Academy platforms in the world’s languages. The reason behind Khan Academy’s international efforts is to enable learners and classrooms all over the world to adopt self-paced, mastery-based learning through thoughtful use and implementation of the resources and tools offered for free on localized Khan Academy sites.
¶ 63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 The entire Khan Academy experience is already available in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Turkish, Norwegian, Hindi and Polish.” https://khanacademy.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/226412428-What-are-our-goals-and-milestones-
Disciplinary and subject OER repositories
¶ 65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 Apart from searching for OER through generic directories or collections, teachers and learners may also find relevant resources by consulting special collections of content devoted to particular topics, subjects or disciplines. Here, we have selected just a handful of projects that will give you a flavour of what a valuable thematic OER project or collection looks like.
¶ 66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 School of Data is a network of organisations and individuals concerned with data literacy that have produced dozens of articles, lessons and hands-on tutorials on how to work with data.
¶ 67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 “The School of Data aims to make your learning experience as tailored as possible through independent learning modules. Learning modules are all stand-alone and can be taken in any order. To make your learning experience easier, we curated modules into a series of courses – with a focus on data basics as well as specific skills.” https://schoolofdata.org/courses/
¶ 68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 All content is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License used by Open Knowledge International.
¶ 69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 SmartHistory is a collection of videos and essays for the study of art history and cultural heritage with contributions from more than 200 experts (art historians, archaeologists, curators, etc.), which has been created in collaboration with leading museums and organisations in the field around the globe – including The British Museum, the Google Cultural Institute, The Museum of Modern Art and Tate among others. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0.
3.2.5. Open Courses and Certification (more than content)
¶ 70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 Beyond the opportunity for learners to have access to educational content for free (e.g. textbooks, podcasts, courseware), some OER initiatives offer the possibility of assessing and certifying learning.
¶ 71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 For instance, the UK Open University’s OpenLearn initiative offers around 1000 courses that are free to study and include ways of demonstrating achievements through assessed learning, which may lead to the issuing of statements of participation and digital badges.
¶ 73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 You can print or email this statement of participation to demonstrate your successful completion of a free online course and your interest in the subject, commitment to your career or to provide evidence of continuing professional development.
¶ 75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 The statement does not carry any formal credit towards a qualification as it is not subject to the same rigour as formal assessment.” http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/frequently-asked-questions-on-openlearn
¶ 76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 Another example is Saylor Academy, an initiative of the Constitution Foundation that offers self-paced courses for free, including the possibility of earning certificates of achievement and in some cases even credit recognition.
¶ 77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 “Our learning materials are curated from a trove of free and open online resources by expert educators (learn more about our course design philosophy). We focus on designing a self-paced learning experience that comes as close as possible to what you would learn in the college classroom. Our certificates are free, our courses are available to you any time, and the deadlines are under your control.” https://www.saylor.org/about/
- ¶ 79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0
- Exams are taken online at learn.saylor.org
- You can take the exam at any time
- You have up to two hours to complete your test — you must finalize all answers within two hours of starting the exam, and once you have opened an exam, that attempt cannot be cancelled
- Exams are typically 50 questions and typically multiple-choice, but this will vary
- You will receive your grade immediately after finishing your test
- The passing score to earn a certificate is 70%
- You can re-take a certificate exam one week after any attempt and a proctored/credit exam two weeks after any attempt; there is no limit on the number of attempts
- We only consider your highest score, so it will not harm you to take the exam multiple times. If you choose to display your score on your course completion certificate, your highest score will be shown; if you retake the exam and earn a higher score than before, that new high score will automatically display on your certificate
¶ 80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 Before the final exam, learners can check their progress by means of activities and assignments while completing a course. While both formative and summative assessment in Saylor Academy may help students in their learning, it is worth noting that the exams sat rely on automatic or self-grading.
¶ 81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 “Our staff does not review or grade assignments — with our self-paced and free model, we do not have an active faculty or teaching assistants available. However, you are invited to share your work with other students in our discussion forums and seek feedback from peers.” https://sayloracademy.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/206105087-About-course-activities-and-assignments
¶ 82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 While Saylor Academy is not an accredited institution and cannot grant credits, some of their courses might be recognised for credits by third parties, provided that students pass a proctored exam (https://www.saylor.org/credit/).
3.2.6. Quality Considerations
¶ 83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 The issue of quality in OER provision – as well as in Open Access scholarship – has been part of discussions since the early days of the movement and it has implications from the perspective of providers as well as re-users.
¶ 84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 Depending on the nature of practices, initiatives might involve more or less systematic approaches to quality assurance. For instance, an individual scholar might release content on her own personal website without going through any formal quality assurance process, the same way s/he can create resources for their teaching without any formal approval. In the case of institutional initiatives, there is usually some form of review process, though this is not always the case.
¶ 85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 After reviewing a number of OER initiatives, the Open Educational Quality Initiative – OPAL Project (2009-11) identified ‘lightweight’ as opposed to ‘top-down’ controlled approaches to quality assurance, as well as models in between the two ends of the spectrum.
¶ 86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 “QA models range from lightweight, user-defined models to strictly controlled hierarchical models. An example of a lightweight and user-driven model came from the Southampton University case study and their edshare project. They provided the option of either open-web sharing or institution-only sharing, according to academics wishes. The OER are made available as simple assets (such as Powerpoint, word, PDF files); i.e. standard formats that academics are used to producing in their everyday practice. In terms of QA and adherence to standards this is very much a lightweight approach, no adherence to IMS CP or LOM is required. OpenExeter is another example of quality control driven by academics, although interestingly it does adhere to IMS standards and is SCORM compliant. It is interesting to note that Southampton and Exeter would both view themselves as ‘research-focused’ institutions, where the academic view is still privileged; hence such lightweight, academic-driven approaches are to be expected. In fact, this does appears to be quite a common approach adopted by many of the case studies; certainly some of the more recent, smaller initiatives.
¶ 87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 In contrast to these lightweight models, the OpenLearn initiative is a good example of a top-down controlled QA model, with clearly articulated quality processes and identified roles (authors, editors, technical support, quality assurers, etc.). Again this can be seen as both a consequence of the unique position in the UK as a large-scale distance educational institution (which a well established, Fordish-production model for course production and presentation) and due to the fact the project received considerable funding from the Hewlett foundation for OpenLearn and hence was in a better position to set up more rigorous and complex roles and processes.” https://www.slideshare.net/grainne/open-educational-practice-dimensions
¶ 88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 Teachers wishing to re-use OER in their teaching should get familiar with the quality assurance mechanism in place and assess the credibility of authors and institutions behind them, just the same way as it should be the case when dealing with proprietary resources.
¶ 89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 The ExplOERer Course offers a set of questions, based on Achieve’s Rubrics for Evaluating Open Education Resource (OER) Objects (http://www.achieve.org/oer-rubrics), that aim to help teachers consider key aspects when evaluating the quality of OER.
- ¶ 93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0
- Are materials comprehensive and easy to understand and use?
- Are suggestions for ways to use the materials with a variety of learners included?
- ¶ 95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0
- If interactive, is this feature purposeful and directly related to learning?
- If interactive, do materials create an individualised learning experience (i.e. do they adapt to students based on what they do?)
- ¶ 97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0
- Do materials engage students in working collaboratively, thinking critically and solving complex problems, learning how to learn, communicating effectively, etc.?
- ¶ 99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0
- Are the materials fully accessible for ALL students, i.e. visually impaired, print disabled, etc.?” http://www.exploerercourse.org/en/modules/week%202/week-2.4/
¶ 100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 In any case, it is ultimately up to educators to decide whether a given OER (or any teaching materials at large) is suitable and meaningful to their students, based on aspects and features that are relevant to their particular needs.