I began my educational journey at University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1992 and graduated with a BS in biology. I received my first Master’s degree in 1999. I began teaching high school science that same year. I taught a variety of different courses, such as, Integrated Science, Honors Biology, and Chemistry. During this four year time span, I began taking courses towards a Master’s degree in Biology. I decided to take a year of from working to pursue research in a lab at University of Massachusetts-Lowell (the college I was receiving my degree from). In this lab, I performed molecular analysis of bacteria closely related to the dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense. Once I completed my MS in Biology and finished my research, I went back to teach high school while at the same time I was a part-time faculty member at Daniel Webster College and Middlesex Community College. In 2014, I moved to New York and began my career at Dutchess Community College. I am currently pursuing my third Master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology.
My Topic and Purpose
Exploring Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are educational resources that are available to anyone who has access to the internet. Users are free to modify, use, and share these resources without cost or permission from the author/creator. By using OER in the educational setting, students are provided with equal access and reduced cost to education.
After participating in this course, participants will be able to:
- Define Open Educational Resources (OER) and explain their importance to global accessibility to education
- Distinguish between the different Creative Commons Licenses
- Evaluate different OER resources for rigor, licensing, and application in their curriculum
- Create an OER and select an appropriate license
- Discuss different ways students can create OER and utilize them in their classrooms
1. Instructional Problem
Community colleges nation wide are seeing a significant drop in enrollment and student success. Some students lack the funding for the cost of tuition and additional required resources, such as textbooks. A solution to the exceedingly high costs of textbooks and course materials are the availability of Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are any educational materials that are found in the Public Domain or are openly-licensed for public use. With the continual increasing advancements in technology, OER are allowing educators to develop and share educational content not just nationally but globally at little or no cost to students (Casell et al., 2008, p.2).
2. What is to be Learned
Participants will learn:
- the potential of OER to the future of education
- to distinguish between the different types of Creative Commons license
- how to select appropriate OER for their educational needs and to design curriculum to be student-centered through OER
3. The Learners
The target audience with be faculty at two- or four-year colleges that are interested in utilizing course materials, such as OER, at little or now cost to the students and to give equal access to educational resources to all students.
4. Context for Instruction
Participants will learn content within this mini-course online, in the location of their choosing. Delivery of the content will require the use of a computer and a stable Internet connection.
5. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution
The creation of OER began in the early 2000s. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) is at the forefront of the OER movement. UNESCO believes, “universal access to high quality education is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue” (UNESCO, 2017). UNESCO original defined OER as “educational resources enabled by information and communication technologies for consultation, use and adoption by a community of users for noncommercial purposes” (as cited by Hilton III, Wiley, Stein, & Johnson, 2010, p.3).
There were several problems indicated in the research regarding OER. The main issues were the concern of quality, lack of awareness, compliance, and organization (Clements & Pawlowski, 2012, Brown 2008, Mtebe & Raisamo 2014, Han et al., 2011, Blick & Marcus, 2017, D’Antoni , 2009). In regard to quality and use of OER, most users began searching for OER materials based on colleagues’ recommendation and reviews of resources (Pitt, 2015, p.140, Clements & Pawlowski, 2012).
The importance of this course is to demonstrate to participants the benefit of utilizing OER and to bring awareness that many educators are already using these resources but do not realize that they are using them. Also, participants will understand that OER can result in high-quality, student-centered equal access to education for all people.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
The Learners: Learners will include 2-year and 4-year higher education instructors who are interesting in learning about alternative educational resources that are less costly and more accessible for their students.
Instructional Context: This mini-course will be available online. Learners can access the materials via the internet in any location from any internet-enabled device with a web browser.
Exploring the Problem and Solution: Currently, students at the college level are struggling with the costs of tuition and the supplementary materials that go along with higher education. In some cases, a single textbook can cost up to $250. Many educators are unaware of the Open Educational Resources (OER) that are available to all people at little or no cost. Most of these materials can be easily incorporated into their current LMS. Many educators are actually using OER and are unaware that they are supplementing their courses with these materials. One of the many benefits of most OER that traditional materials don't offer is the instructor's ability to remix, edit, redistribute, and modify the materials without the authors consent. Currently, many instructors violate copyright laws and they are unknowingly in violations.
By the end of this course:
- Instructors will understand how OER is used in classrooms as a low/no-cost alternative to traditional educational tools, such as classic textbooks and supplementary materials.
- Instructors will research and select OER that are applicable in their classrooms, and by doing so, will gain knowledge of how OER materials can benefit their students and inform their own pedagogical practices.
- Instructors will evaluate other pieces of work (OER) and explain what the licenses mean and what a user could do with that piece of work in regard to licensing.
- Instructors will, based their understanding of Creative Commons Licensing, design an original assignment in their field, select a Creative Commons Licenses that is appropriate for the activity, explain why they selected that license, and what this license means for other users.
References and Resources
Blick, W., & Marcus, S. (2017). The brightly illuminated path: facilitating an OER program at community college. College Student Journal, 51(1), 29-32.
Brown, J. S. (2008). Opening up education: The collective advancement of education through open technology, open content, and open knowledge. Mit Press.
Clements, K. I., & Pawlowski, J. M. (2012). User-oriented quality for OER: Understanding teachers' views on re-use, quality and trust. Journal of computer Assisted Learning, 28(1), 4-14.
D'Antoni, S. (2009). Open Educational Resources: reviewing initiatives and issues. The Journal of Open, Distance, and E-Learning, 24(1), 3-10.
Han, X., Zhou, Q., & Yang, J. (2011). A technical mode for sharing and utilizing open educational resources in Chinese universities. Knowledge Mangement & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), 3(3), 356-374.
Hilton III, J., Wiley, D., Stein, J., & Johnson, A. (2010). The four 'R's of openness and ALMS analysis: frameworks for open educational resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 25(1), 37-44.
Mtebe, J. S., & Raisamo, R. (2014). Challenges and instructors' intention to adopt and use open educational resources in higher education in Tanzania. The international Review of Research in Open Distributed Learning, 15(1).
Pitt, R. (2015). Mainstreaming opne textbooks: Educator perspectives on the impact of openstax colelge open textbooks. . The international Review in Open and Districuted Learning, 16(4).
UNESCO. (2017). Retrieved from )(http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/access-to-knowledge/open-educational-resources/