Integrating OER in Teaching and Learning

The OER Handbook for Educators provides 8 steps for OER integration:

  1. Assess the validity and reliability of the OER.
  2. Determine placement within the curriculum, if not already done. Note that some OER integration may be abandoned at this point if the OER relates poorly to the rest of the curriculum.
  3. Check for license compatibility.
  4. Eliminate extraneous content within the OER (assuming the license permits.
  5. Identify areas of localization..
  6. Remix with other educational materials, if applicable.
  7. Determine the logistics of using the OER within the lesson. For example, you may need to print handouts for learners. In other cases special software may be needed.
  8. Devise a method of evaluation or whether the currently planned evaluation needs adjustment.

The fundamental difference between OER and traditional teaching/learning materials is that OER allow for the students to be part of the creation of new and the improvement of existing materials.  While it is true that traditional materials can be extended with the creation of additional materials they generally do not provide for the student to be part of the original creation and distribution process.  In a knowledge economy where demand for creativity and innovation is high it seems paramount that students as much as possible be part of the content creation cycle.

In K12 education the link between outcomes based curricula, inquiry and therefore the integration/incorporation/creation of OER is then obvious.  It is a natural part of the requirement for students to be active learners, collaborative learners, social learners, problem solvers and publishers of content. In particular active learning approaches like project, problem, issues [related to problem-based learning] and challenge-based learning expect that students will create products or connect with community.  And because of the nature of inquiry and the openness of the questions that can be explored and answered by students [still linked to curriculum of course] it is likely that materials will need to be created or customized on the part of the teacher in order to appropriately support the process.  The 8 steps then speak very well to the planning and work that is required on the part of the teacher [and by the active learner]  in the selection, customization and distribution [making OER available] of learning materials.

In the not too distant past the process of finding, creating, remixing, revising and publishing or distributing content was a much more difficult task than it is today.  While to some the process may remain difficult we are lucky to be operating in a time when both the tools for creation and the means to publish are readily at hand and relatively simple to use.  With the advent of creation and publishing services like Google Apps,  iTunes and iTunesU and iBooks Author the creative cycle is becoming even simpler.  On the learning side this should allow educators to focus more on the skills required for students to find, authenticate and utilize resources more effectively.

I would add to this integration list one important step. Step 9 should to be to design appropriate methods of distribution, sharing and collaborative creation of OER…from both the student and teacher perspective. Only then will teachers and students develop a firm understanding of the intent of OER.

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5 Responses to Integrating OER in Teaching and Learning

  1. The fundamental difference between OER and traditional teaching/learning materials is that OER allow for the students to be part of the creation of new and the improvement of existing materials.
    Good point. I tried to get the research groups to post into a Diigo account and that was totally unsuccessful. They just didn’t do it. These are undergraduates. Any suggestions on how you keep multiple projects flowing? They can go back and create a Diigo for the topic after they complete and I can use that the next term if anyone takes the same topic. Otherwise I am stuck!

    • learn231 says:

      With other teachers and students I post essential questions to Diigo as we are moving through the activity. They quickly discover that I am involved and present. The questions also provide guidance for those that are either having difficulty or are reluctant to participate. They also learn that the questions support what they are doing and that the responses provide direction and additional information that they can use. There are still always some that have minimal involvement [or none] but you keep pushing.

  2. Vincent Jansen says:

    Your point regarding the involvement of students in the content creation cycle is very interesting. Students do have the ability to contribute and help set the learning outcomes for the topic of study. However they are often reluctant to contribute since they are quite used to being informed as to their role.

    In today’s world everyone can be an author, publisher so this often leads to many types and quality resources. It is not the skills of publishing we need to perhaps teach students but more likely the appropriate use of the tools to craft a clear message, validation of resources and curation. I do very much agree with your final statement; ” On the learning side this should allow educators to focus more on the skills required for students to find, authenticate and utilize resources more effectively.”

    Vince

  3. Maira says:

    You can certainly see your skills in the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  4. Pingback: Using #OER for Common Core State Standards | Classroom Aid

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