OER Pulse 2021 Recap: The Year In Open Educational Resources

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Welcome to the OER — Open Educational Resources Hub recap of 2021, when the “OER Gap” didn’t disappear, but it definitely become a lot tighter.

Check out the best OER Resource compilation in store in our Virtual Learning & Online Activities Guide

Get A Grant To Create The Best Expression Of Educational Content, Set It Free

The fight to promote OER does not stop, which is why NECC has decided to support the creators of educational content for their development through a grant.

The Northern Essex Community College is an accredited public university that seeks to educate and inspire students to succeed. One of its main objectives is to create an environment of equality and cultural inclusion among its community in order to inspire initiative and excellence.

NECC seek high-priced textbooks to be replaced with free educational materials. So far, NECC students have saved more than $2 million USD between 2014 and 2020.

The university joins a consortium of universities in Massachusetts with which it shares a $440,000 USD federal grant for the support and promotion of OER.  

According to Sue Tashjian, educational technology coordinator and co-chair of the Massachusetts OER Advisory Council, the grant will support teachers and librarians in creating and engaging OER that are relevant to the student population.

As a result of this initiative, the university plans to create an estimated 25 textbooks per year for a total of 75 over the duration of the grant.

The grant will provide approximately $5,000 USD for participating teachers, including funding for professional development and a one-year mentoring track.

Thoughts on the OER Gap, and how to close it

With the standardization of Open Educational Resources, economic barriers that exist among students at the time of accessing a university can be eliminated.

The use and management of OER brings benefits to teachers and students. With OER, students can save significant amounts of money that can be used for food, tuition, or medical expenses. With the elimination of these funds, financial barriers to higher education can be removed.

Howewer this situation happens in universities as well as in schools. The cost of the books that a student needs in one exceeds the value of the registration, hindering students from successfully completing their school year.

Taking this into account, the use of OER material in courses could be a solution for more children and adolescents to study and complete their studies and a university degree Likewise, the use of OER encourages lifelong learning in students and participation in education.

But with all the advantages and benefits mentioned above, why do many teachers still not involve OERs in their curricula? Both teachers and students have the perception that OERs are of poor quality. But this perspective can be changed. If educational institutions volunteer to provide editors and designers to participate in the creation and building of an OER, the quality of the content would be ideal. Thus making these resources easier to adopt into a curriculum.

Accessibility and usability are another barriers faced by OER, as there are very few technological tools for teachers or students to share and adapt this content to their learning process. For example, platforms that publish OER such as EdTech Books employ design strategies that are adaptable for mobile devices, multiple formats such as HTML or PDF and with easy-to-use functions.

Other biggest barrier to the creation, adoption and dissemination of OER is the lack of time and commitment that some authors have when creating a resource like this. The important thing is to ask oneself if the resource to be created or shared has an impact for the audience, and thus generate reflection and critical thinking about what teachers share with students.

The term OER and society’s conception of it can be rethought, since doing so will provide benefits to students in terms of reducing costs and improving teaching methods, so that student performance can be increased.

Colorado adopts OER in education to drive student success

Since 2018 in Colorado the Department of Higher Education has supported institutions in seeking innovative and equitable materials for students based on open education.

This support for education is of a monetary type, since what is intended is to offer study material that guarantees the students that their educational process is going in the right direction and that in the future they will be able to apply what they have learned.

In one hand, in 2018, nearly $550,000 USD was awarded to advance 30 OER grantees that embody innovation and diversity in their content. You can read the full report here.

On the othre hand, In 2019, $1 million USD was invested for 35 different OER grantees, from individual initiatives of teachers or authors to institutional projects. Read the 2020 report here.

In 2020-2021 the CDHE will award the last round of funding. A list of OER’s recent grantees can be found here.

The request for proposals is currently closed. But it will be opened for the month of September so if you want to send a request for proposals you can send an email for more information [email protected]

You can also keep an eye on what the CDHE is doing, next October 18-22 will be the Open Ed 2021 conference and October 20-24 will be the Creative Commons Global Summit.

Reinventing the Curriculum, How to do it?

Despite all the changes that education faced because of the pandemic, many educational institutions learned to use virtual platforms and tools to make classes interactive, engaging and improve student engagement.

An interview with Andy Pass touched on changes that should be made by creators and publishers of courses for learners. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital content for learners and educators, but publishers are also affected as they try to remain relevant or profitable to the industry. So here are some strategies for content success.

Reviewing whether content or strategy is a digital priority

For many creators and publishers their ideas may be valid and they create the content and publish it, but is it really useful and used by students or teachers? For this reason it is important to create strategies before starting with the content publishing process, so that the author also starts to see monetary gains. OER can be seen as a support for those authors who are out of work.

Focus on what type of content you want to share with others

Starting to create digital content without any strategy or prior knowledge can generate some negative reputation and generate distrust with readers. However, the need to create innovative content remains for many, so it is important to be informed, read and know applicable strategies to start building trust between the author and the audience.

Exploits existing OERs

Starting to create, edit and apply OER is an opportunity to reduce costs. This allows the author to have prior knowledge and support from existing resources to have an idea of what is currently popular and also what is not.

Our digital world is undergoing constant changes and knowing what to do when is difficult to know. But OER is always available to everyone, the important thing is to know how to use it and how to share it. It is ideal that the authors and creators of these resources begin to gain strength, since the pandemic gave them a great opportunity.

How can I start an OER project?

Unschooling in hard-to-reach or under-resourced areas has become more pronounced because schools are closed. But many governments have opted for the option of educating children virtually from their homes, which implies the use of content. OER can be adapted and shared through different communication channels such as radio, television, text messaging and even learning management systems.

The increased demand for content has increased on OERs as a means to make cost-effective content related to the students’ program. But it should be kept in mind that excessive use of OER needs an investment of resources. For this reason we recommend 3 things to keep in mind when starting an OER project.

1. OERs need to improve their reputation, and reputation requires skill

On the Internet you can find any type of content and here you are not exempt from reading or having an OER that is not very well elaborated. For this reason it is important to stipulate processes or strategies before starting to create the content, have knowledge of writing, writing and have a lot of information in mind that you can make use of it during the process of creating the content or resource.

2. Design learning experiences with OER

Teachers or authors need to learn design skills to use OER and for this it is important to be trained and prepared for unexpected situations and to know how to react to them.

It is important for teachers to have the ability to adapt a resource with their curriculum in order to deliver quality education and meet the needs of students. Teachers who already have these skills to develop their own content can share it as OER for the industry.

3. OER without evaluation, add it to your to-do list

It is important for teachers to know how their students are performing and their attention span, which is why they use assessments. The same thing happens with OERs, since you must take into account what kind of content you are going to use and share with your class. Also, if you use an OER in your class and your students don’t perform well, that tells you that your resource has not been the best.

More Entrepreneurship With More Open Software Activity

Greater participation in open source software development can enable better and more business?

A Harvard Business School study “Open Source Software And Global Entrepreneurship” demonstrates how participation in the open source website GitHub affects global start-ups.

The study shows that there is a 1% increase in GitHub activity from people living in a country produces a 0.1 to 0.5% increase in technology companies founded in the country and a 0.6% increase in new funding.

Open source software is influential with entrepreneurship worldwide, and for this reason it can function as a support to improve economic development and offer investment opportunities.

Equitiy with OER

Have you ever wondered if the open resources you use are usable for your students?

With this Equity Through OER rubric created by members of DOERS3 Equity Work Group, you will learn how to optimally integrate OER into your curriculum. This rubric is a digital self-assessment toolkit that guides students and teachers to understand the equity dimensions of OER.

This rubric is organized into specific categories for higher education institutions. The purpose of this rubric is to enable teachers to lead their students to success by taking into account equity and quality of education.

Did You Know That Every Year There is an Open Education Week?

In a month it is the open education week, Open Education Global is the entity that is organizing and holding the event that will take place from March 1 to 7. Teachers, students, writers, anyone is invited to participate and contribute to this event.
Visit the OE Week page for more information.

Happy Birthday Wikipedia! This 2021 Brought With it the 20th Anniversary of Wikipedia

Over 20 years, Wikipedia has become the largest collection of open knowledge in history. How did it happen? Thanks to people like you, who share their knowledge with others, writing, writing and publishing articles of interest to children, youth and adults.

Top 10 U.S. Universities Have Available A Collection Created by MSU Libraries

The libraries of MSU (Michigan State University) will soon have their content available to students and professors from the top 10 major universities in the United States. These 10 universities will share content so that more people can access knowledge without any impediment.

Two of the important parts of this initiative are the Affordable Textbook Program, which makes it easy for students to read expensive books for free and without buying them; and the Open Educational Resources (OER) program that offers financial stimuli to teachers or instructors. to edit, create or adjust OER course materials.

This represents yet another sign that OER has reached the mainstream. It remains to be seen how academic publishers react against the growing —and glowing— reception of these resources.

UCF Professors-led initiative gives students free access to course materials, saves them $750 grand

With a savings of more than $750,000 for the fall semester of 2020, professors at the University of Central Florida facilitated learning and access to knowledge through the use of REA educational resources, according to news by the university student paper, UCF Today.

This initiative was made jointly by two UCF departments, the Physics Department and the Distributed Learning Center. The initiative saw quick growth in the OER adoption between 2019 and 2020. An estimated 9% of the total student body enrolled in OER-friendly courses in the Fall 2020 semester, up from 5% in the same period the previous year.

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