Monday, November 26

OER Articles, Reports, Sites and Tools (Getting Dizzy!)

"“Free sharing of software, scientific results and educational resources reinforces societal development and diminishes social inequality. From a more individual standpoint, open sharing is claimed to increase publicity, reputation and the pleasure of sharing with peers.” - Jan Hylen, OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (Also check out Wikipedia - OER!)

Difference Between Educational Content Accessible for FREE and OER?
"A resource accessible for FREE over the Internet does not always signify that it is not protected by a copyright nor forbidden for reuse and reproduction. In fact, most of the time, the content is protected by copyrights not allowing reproduction. Where else an OER is distributed, licensed and shared with the background willingness to enable the user to adapt and use the content freely. There fore, the model of distribution and the license is always clearly mentioned (Source: OER Introduction Booklet)."

After exploring the OER Introduction Booklet further during the weekend, and a bit of reflection, I realize (don't ask me why!) I want to highlight a few valuable articles, reports, sites, and tools that we can explore further to get a better understanding about what OER is, why it is important, how we can use it, and how we can participate and contribute to make a difference. Most of the OER resources in this list are extracted from Thomas Bekkers' excellent OER Introduction Booklet (Thanks!):

  • By the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP): OER Glossary
    This Wiki space maintained by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
    shares an open glossary of terms that have been used in the IIEP community discussions on Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of OER
    The report offers a comprehensive overview of the rapidly changing phenomenon of Open Educational Resources and the challenges it poses for higher education. It examines reasons for individuals and institutions to share resources for free, and looks at copyright issues, sustainability and business models as well as policy implications. It will be of particular interest to those involved in e-learning or strategic decision making within higher education, to researchers and to students of new technologies ...more
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) Stories
    "Case studies/stories of how institutions and individuals have developed or used OER would be a useful resource for awareness raising activities. Telling stories is a very powerful means of transmitting information. As one Community member (Zaid Ali Alsagoff) expressed it, "Stories inspire people and bring movements to life."
  • A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement (PDF)
    This report examines The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s past investments in Open Educational Resources, the emerging impact and explores future opportunities.
  • OER and Dissemination of Knowledge Indeveloping Countries
    By David Steve Matthe. Why should anyone give away anything for free? Free sharing means broader and faster dissemination, and more people get involved in problem-solving, which means rapid improvement and faster technical and scientific development, and that free-sharing of software, scientific results and educational resources movements re-enforces societal development and diminishes social inequality, etc.
  • Why are Individuals and Institutions Using and Producing OER?
    This excellent paper by Jan Hylen, introduces findings from a recent OECD study. Introductory remarks: "The first and most fundamental question anyone arguing for free and open sharing of software or content has to answer is – why? Why should anyone give away anything for free? What are the possible gains in doing that? Please read :)
  • Getting Started with Reusability? An introduction to Reusability for Digital Learning Resources
    This article, published by the Reusable Learning project, provides an interesting overview
    about the concept of "reusability" and knowledge transmission from the early age to today's modern societies to finally introduce reusability for digital learning resources and the systems that support them.
  • PRODUCE & REMIX OER: Author and Modify
    This 60-minute tutorial provides information on and practical tasks in creating and modifying open content in an open process formats that can be published as open educational resources and tools, that support this process how to use standards and metadata.
  • OER and practices: a Slide Show with Audio introducing OERs
    This slide show was published on and produced by Leigh Blackall. It includes audio, pictures and an article exploring OERs and practices in a tertiary educational institution.
  • By IIEP: OER Useful Resources
    This list of links to OER initiatives, resources and tools was compiled following the first IIEPdiscussion forum on Open Educational Resources (24 October - 2 December 2005). It owes a considerable debt to Zaid Ali Alsagoff (That is my name! Cool!), who put together a first list of OER initiatives as an outcome of the forum. Practitioners will find some useful lists of Web sites related to OERs including portals, tools, OER development and publishing initiatives, communities, journals and more.
  • 80 OER Tools for Publishing and Development Initiatives
    Arranged in alphabetical order, this list includes 80 online resources that you can use to learn how to build or participate in a collaborative educational effort that focuses on publication and development of those materials.

Also, if you are looking for a massive list of potential learning tools, you might want to check out UNESCO Free & Open Source Software Portal (Currently 604 tools!). Here are links directly to the major categories:

Finally, if you are looking for a list of learning tools that combine commercial, open source, and free stuff, I believe Jane Knight's directory of 1700+ learning tools (probably more now!) would be of great help (if you got time!).

Oh Man! I am getting dizzy! This post is heavy! As Stephen Downes says, "See, here's the thing, though. I don't want 99 (mind mapping) resources, tools, and tips. I want one. That works. Really well. (Source)." So, if you ask me to recommend only one learning tool to jump start an OER initiative, I would probably pick Moodle. Hey, don't jump the gun! Why think one! What about your mission, needs, requirements, analysis, bla, bla, bla... Before you know it, nothing really happens! Perhaps, we can learn a few lessons from New Zealand's ongoing OER project. Goals, Strategy, Expertise, Pedagogy, Instructional Design, Content, Tools (Moodle, Fedora, etc.), Relevance... :)

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