The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically demonstrated the barriers that many students and teachers still face in accessing quality educational materials. It has also spurred many in education to call for making more resources openly available. Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital or non-digital learning resources placed in the public domain or released under open licenses that allow for unrestricted use, distribution, access, and adaptation.
In this post, we highlight projects, organizations, and materials that relate to OER. We hope that these resources can be valuable for educators in the ATE community and that they will be shared widely with students, colleagues, or anyone else who might benefit. Do you have additional OER that you would like to share with the community? We would love to hear from you! Just email email@example.com!
As an information sharing platform that connects educators across North America, Connect OER lives up to its name. Readers may want to start by navigating to the Directory tab to view the existing database. Several filters are provided for more fruitful browsing; for example, selections allow users to search by name, location, activity, and other institutional characteristics, and buttons at the top of the page invite users to narrow by Institutions, Programs, Policies, Events, and Resources. Then, interested readers can create a free profile for their institution to highlight their own OER contributions and share best practices in the field. The FAQ button at the bottom of the page provides guidance on how to request an account, how to maintain and make changes to user profiles, and other troubleshooting advice.
Launched in 2017, the eCampusOntario Open Library curates more than 500 open-access educational resources for post-secondary educators and learners. A range of subjects are represented in the library, including: "computing and IT," "language and linguistics," "mathematics and science," and "philosophy and religion." In addition to browsing the resource collection, readers will find several other unique OER tools on the site. For example, though the cost-saving benefits of open educational resources have been widely recognized, Open Library makes these benefits tangible through its impact calculator. Found on the Impact page, this tool allows educators to input some basic data (such as the cost of the resource they are replacing and the number of students they are teaching that term) to quickly calculate the total savings. Educators willing to share materials they created can do so via the "Make a Suggestion" box on the About page.
Educators engaged in open pedagogy, or interested in becoming more engaged in the process of bringing open educational resources (OER) to their classrooms, may want to explore the Open Pedagogy Notebook. Here, visitors will find a great introduction to open pedagogy principles and examples of open pedagogy in practice. Participation is one of the pillars of OER, and the Open Pedagogy Notebook puts that into practice by welcoming user annotations throughout. Additionally, users are welcome to submit their own open pedagogy templates and resources. Speaking of resources, after browsing the entirety of this section, readers may want to explore the various materials currently available under the Examples tab. These materials include assignment prompts and syllabus structure ideas.
OpenAcademics is an online community of multidisciplinary academics who share the same pillars of "respect, diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness." Academics and professionals who are formally or informally aligned with the group will find plenty of valuable tools on the Resources page. For example, the page houses professional development primers distilling tips on academic CVs, cover letters, elevator pitches, and personal statements. Those in research roles will benefit from the Conference Abstract and Research Paper Anatomy tips sheets, while those in development positions may enjoy the Grant Writing Process outline. All readers can benefit from the Useful Expressions infographic (essentially a pocket thesaurus) and the Writing a Formal Email cheat sheet.
Instructors and professors of geography and related disciplines will want to take advantage of the resources made available by Open Geography Education, a website "dedicated to providing free, open curriculum and resources to anybody who is interested in our geographic world." Visitors can click on "eTextbooks" for links to OER geography and geology textbooks, geography lab manuals, and geospatial technology instructional materials. The books are designed to be readable on smartphones and tablets and for use in face-to-face, hybrid, or entirely online courses. There is also an "Online Resources" page with helpful links to professional organizations, government agencies, private sector institutions, and research centers and projects touching on physical, environmental, and human geography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and spatial data analysis.