Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Top 5 Open Educational Resource sites

So... have you heard about Open Educational Resources (OER)?  Well, if you haven't, then you're potentially missing out on a whole load of good stuff which is freely and openly available for you to enrich your teaching (and / or learning).  How great does that sound?  I've gathered together some of my favourite OER sites for you to explore.

But, first of all... a little introduction to 'why open education matters' which I thought you might like!

Jorum - the free online repository from JISC
This is a JISC-funded service and you'll just find lots and lots of free online resources here for you to look at and reuse.  Not only that but there are also discussions forums available where you can share ideas as well as plenty of support resources to get you started.

This isn't just about what you can access, however, it's easy to share resources too provided you're a member of a Further or Higher Education institution.  Great stuff!

MERLOT Multimedia Educational Resource
for Learning and Online Teaching
An OER Granddaddy having been around since 1997, Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching or MERLOT (which is far easier to say!) is a community for sharing online open resources and there are thousands and thousands of them available from activities and learning materials to links to external resources.

Although there is inevitably a bias towards American resources (as MERLOT is based at the California State University) and it can feel a little dated at times, you can search or browse what they've got and normally turn up goodies from all over the place which makes a visit well worth while!

OER Commons
OER Commons from ISKME
Another OER site this time created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) from the United States and this one has been around since 2007 and aims to create a knowledge base around the use of OER as well as providing a platform for sharing and reuse of resources.  It's easier to search rather than browse due to the high proliferation of secondary school-level resources and the tools to refine your search make this a straightforward process.

One of the nicest features about OER Commons is the Open Author tool which is part of contributing a resource.  It basically allows you to create a resource from a number of different elements - video, images, sound, text etc - in a simple editor so that you can share it with others using OER Commons.

Creative Commons Search
Creative Commons Search
I really like the simplicity of the Creative Commons Search site.  If you're not after searching for open courses but what you're after are individual resources, then this is an excellent place to start.  There are two main choices for licenses that you can modify - use for commercial purposes or to modify, adapt, build upon - and selecting these will generally reduce the amount of results you get, but will turn up resources which give you more flexible options for re-use.

Essentially what this site does is to offer easy access to Creative Commons searches from lots of different places - Flickr for fabulous images, Open Clip Art Library for a cornucopia of graphics, music from Jamendo and ccMixter and cc-licensed video from YouTube.  It's an excellent starting place and very simple to use.

OER Glue
OER Glue - simple and lots of potential
OER Glue allows you to glue together OER (unsurprisingly!) from around the web (YouTube, Wikipedia, the OpenCourseWare Consortium etc to create courses which can then be shared, remixed, copied etc.  You can also find courses to take yourself and then, using their little toolbar in Chrome, find other people studying that course which could help boost the interactivity and community further.

I've included it here because I like the idea of it and think there's some potential with this... plus there are some good looking courses to which it links... but... to be honest, I found it a rather confusing experience and somewhat flaky!

So, there you have it.  Five sites for OER loveliness!

Do you use OER in your teaching / learning?  What sites would you recommend?


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