Project Portfolio: Laura Harris


Navigate to: ETAP 623: Fall 2017 (Section 7619)About MeProject PortfolioMini-course: Open Educational Resources


  • Topic
    Open educational resources (OERs)
  • Purpose
    To help teachers understand:
    • What open educational resources are
    • How to use existing open educational resources in the classroom
    • How to create new open educational resources

Learning Outcomes

Outcome Bloom's Domain Gagne's Learning Outcomes
Define open educational resources (OERs) Cognitive: Remembering Verbal Information
Search for and locate OERs Cognitive: Understanding Cognitive Strategies
Determine if an OER meet their needs Cognitive: Evaluating Intellectual Skills
Adapt an OER to meet their needs Cognitive: Creating / Synthesizing Intellectual Skills
Create and share an OER Cognitive: Creating
Affective: Valuing
Intellectual Skills
Demonstrate appreciation of the importance of OERs by choosing to use and create them Affective: Valuing Attitude

Needs Assessment

What's the current situation or problem? How do we know it's a problem?

Problem 1: It is well-known that teachers spend their own money on teaching materials and other school supplies. According to a 2015-2016 report by, "the average American educator spends $600 of her own money every year on basic supplies" (Ness, 2017, para. 2). The National School Supply and Equipment Association also tracks this information, and according to their 2013 report, "On average, teachers reported spending about $149 of their own money on school supplies, $198 on instructional materials, and $138 on other classroom materials for a total of $485 in the 2012-2013 school year" (NSSEA, 2013). This is a problem of long standing: a cursory literature review suggests that this has been an issue since at least the early 1990s (Latham & Fifield, 1993, para. 2). Given that this is a nation-wide trend, it is worrisome that so many schools cannot or do not properly equip their teachers to successfully do their jobs.

Problem 2: Proprietary instructional materials, especially textbooks, can be highly problematic. Because of the time involved in updating, editing, and publishing new editions of textbooks, they may become outdated and inaccurate quickly (Calado & Bogner, 2017; K. Steele, personal communication, October 6, 2017; L. Langlois, personal communication, May 22, 2017). Furthermore, many textbooks exhibit and codify discriminatory views (Donovan, 2017; Blumberg, 2008).

How can we address this problem?

Unfortunately, this problem is multi-faceted; school funding often comes from a variety of sources including federal, state, and local governments. As such, it's unlikely that this problem can be solved by any one intervention. Many of the solutions to this issue must be organizational and governmental, rather than instructional.

However, one promising instructional solution is to educate teachers and administrators about open educational resources (OERs) and their role as an alternative to expensive or proprietary instructional materials. OERs are usually free or low-cost, and can offset some of the expenditures made by both school districts and teachers. More research is needed, but a study by Wiley, Hilton, Ellington, and Hall (2012) found that adoption of open textbooks in middle school and high school science classes led to approximately 50% savings with no change in educational outcomes (p. 272).

What do we know about the proposed solution (instructing teachers and administrators about OERs)?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, "Task analysis is the process of learning about ordinary users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals." It is useful, then, to consider how teachers usually go about finding instructional materials.

Context Analysis

Cultural Context

Altruism is at the core of why many people choose to become teachers. This has been at the core of teachers' professional choices for many years. Alexander, Chant, and Cox (1994) reported that "What attracts people to teaching has been a popular research theme for several decades, and it has been simultaneously quite popular in many countries...From almost all the studies, something loosely called 'altruism' provided the most compelling answer to the question of why the choice was made" (Alexander, Chant, and Cox, 1994, p. 40). More recent research by Turkish researchers Balyer and Özcan (2014) confirms this: "Results revealed that students chose teaching mostly with altruistic-intrinsic reasons" (p. 104).

This sense of altruism will prove important in this project, as engagement with the open educational resource community does require some degree of altruism. While there are practical, money-saving reasons for using and adapting OERs, a willingness to share one's work is required if one wishes to create OERs.

Theoretical Context

In order to understand open educational resources, it is useful to first understand the Creative Commons. Instructional materials about this topic will most likely reflect a Behavioral and Instructivist theoretical approach. As Larson and Lockee (2014) note, "The Instructivist approach...tends to see the design challenge as organizing and presenting information in a way to facilitate effective and efficient learner encoding, storage, and retrieval" (p. 78). This approach most closely aligns with what learners will need to do with their knowledge of the Creative Commons - i.e. encode, store, and retrieve.

The rest of the content more closely aligns with a Constructivist theoretical approach. Larson and Lockee (2014) describe this approach as follows:

A Constructivist approach is focused on authentic experiences that involve learners in activities carried out in the real world. It typically provides a goal for learners involving the construction of knowledge or a tangible or public entity...This is generally done in a public forum, so that learners benefit from the feedback of peers, instructors, and/or the public. (p. 78)

It is my intent to facilitate authentic experiences, where learners will interact with (a) existing open educational content; (b) platforms for finding open educational content; and (c) communities of practice around OERs. Ideally, learners will create an open educational resource. They may receive feedback from these communities of practice, or colleagues. They may also receive feedback when others adopt or adapt their work.

Learning Context

Technology: With regard to hardware, it is recommended that learners use a computer to access these materials, rather than a mobile device. The MediaWiki software used to host this mini-course is not responsive by default, which means that content does not resize automatically to fit on smaller screens.

With regard to software, learners will need a web browser; it is recommended that learners use the most up-to-date version of Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.

Other technological affordances may be required. For example, some instructional materials may require a high-speed Internet connection. Students may also want to use Microsoft Word or another text editor in order to complete reflective activities.

Instruction and assessment: This mini-course is an informal learning opportunity, and as such, learners will not be formally assessed. The course will be accessible at all times. These choices will provide learners with the following benefits:

  • Learners will set their own pace throughout the mini-course.
  • Learning materials can be accessed easily after the course is completed.

However, there are also disadvantages to this learning context:

  • The course will not be monitored by an instructor after it is launched, so students will not receive feedback from instructors.
  • Because students can access this course at any time, it is unlikely there will be many people taking this course at the same time. Furthermore, there are no technological affordances to indicate that others are taking the course at the same time.

Given these constraints, the instructional designer will build in other opportunities for peer interaction and mentorship.

Other constraints: Because this course will not be monitored after its creation, any mistakes or failures on the part of the instructional designer will persist. Furthermore, it is likely the content will become outdated or incomplete over time.

Performance Context

Because of the limitations of the learning context, learners will be encouraged to connect with peers in performance contexts. They will be provided with a list of communities of practice surrounding open educational resources, and encourage to participate in these communities.

Learner Analysis

The intended audience of this mini-course is teachers, specifically teachers in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. The course should be applicable to teachers in all subject areas.

Learner survey

A survey of the target population was conducted to investigate learners' interest in and prior knowledge of open educational resources.

I believe that there are two areas of particularly useful data from the survey:

  • Prior knowledge. More than half (n=10) of the survey respondents had never heard of the Creative Commons, and still others (n=3) had heard of it but weren't familiar with it. With regard to OERs themselves, about 25% (n=5) had never heard of them, while more than half (n=10) had heard of them but didn't weren't familiar with them. I believe this suggests that these topics have relevance in their professional communities.
  • Interest levels. All respondents (n=19) had at least some interest in learning about finding open educational resources. Most respondents (n=18) had at least some interest in adopting and using OERs in their classroom. This seems to reaffirm the instructional need for this topic.


Performance Objectives

Learners will be able to:

  • Define open educational resources (OERs)
  • Search for and locate OERs
  • Determine if an OER meet their needs
  • Adapt an OER to meet their needs
  • Create and share an OER
  • Demonstrate appreciation of the importance of OERs by choosing to use and create them, and advocate for them in their professional lives

Task Analysis: Curriculum Map


References & Resources

Alexander, D., Chant, D., & Cox, B. (1994). What Motivates People to Become Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 19(2), 40-49.

Balyer, A. & Özcan, K. (2014). Choosing teaching profession as a career: Students' reasons. International Education Studies, 7(5), 104-115.

Blumberg, R.L. (2008). The invisible obstacle to educational equality: Gender bias in textbooks. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, 38(3), 345-361.

Calado, F.M. and Bogner, F.X. (2013). A reflection on distorted views of science and technology in science textbooks as obstacles to the improvement of students' scientific literacy. European Journal of Educational Research, 2(2), 51-68. Retrieved from

Donovan, B.M. (2017). Learned inequality: Racial labels in the biology curriculum can affect the development of racial prejudice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54(3), 379-411.

Larson, M.B. & Lockee, B.B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York, NY: Routledge.

Latham, G.I. and Fifield, K. (1993). The hidden costs of teaching. Educational Leadership, 50(6), 44-45. Retrieved from

National School Supply and Equipment Association. (2013). NSSEA study finds teachers spend $1.6 billion of their own money on educational products for their classrooms [Press release]. Retrieved from

Ness, A. (2017, August 2). Teachers spend hundreds of dollars a year on school supplies. That's a problem. Education Week Teacher. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.) Task analysis. In (How To & Tools > Methods). Retrieved from

Wiley, D., Hilton, J.L., Ellington, S. and Hall, T. (2012). A preliminary examination of the cost savings and learning impacts of using open textbooks in middle and high school science classes. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(3), 262-276. Retrieved from

My To Do List

(If I need more icons, I got them from:


  • Double-check citations
  • Double-check consistency of "openly licensed" or "openly-licensed"

Unit 2:

  • Find an icon for unit 2 that's basically "look around" - something to indicate that it's an activity.
  • Create reference list for unit 2 page.
  • add section on evaluating.
  • create an activity, and reflection.

Unit 3:

  • everything


  • everything