As mentioned in previous blog posts, Open Educational Resources (OERs) are free, openly licensed course materials you can use in your courses. In honor of the upcoming OE Week (March 6-10), the Creative Team has put together some of our favorite OER staff picks to get you thinking about OER through the eyes of the Creative Team and in addition to costly, tightly controlled textbooks.
Dave Wilson, Associate Director CIRT
When I think of open educational resources, my first thoughts go to media and digital collections instead of books and assignments. Digital collections can include all types of records, many with copyright-free images, maps, movies, and audio recordings. Some famous digital collections include the Library of Congress Digital Collections and its copycats (like Florida Memory, Virginia Memory, etc.), the New York Public Library Digital Collections, and Harvard Digital Collections. I recommend Smithsonian Open Access. It has a vast collection of media, including 3D models and data sets (another area of OER we should remember) and the presentation is exemplary. The Smithsonian brings the collection to life. Each piece has a story, and there is a tool for creating lessons and projects.
Andrew Rush, Course Media Developer
If you’re looking for Open Educational Resources (OER), consider exploring podcasts. These are digital audio files, usually produced in series, which can be downloaded to a personal device or streamed through a podcasting service. Podcasts are available to the public at no cost and are designed with accessibility in mind. In addition to the audio content, podcast creators often provide transcripts, links to additional materials, and online forums for listeners to engage in further discussion.
If you’re interested in creating your own podcast, CIRT staff can assist you with recording and setting up a website for your show using WordPress. Please contact CIRT for more information.
OER Accessibility Toolkit
Wendy Poag, Coordinator of Accessibility
If a resource is not accessible to people with disabilities, is it really open access? The OER accessibility toolkit is an excellent resource for content creators to create truly open and accessible educational resources. This toolkit is intended for the non-technical user and provides suggestions, best practices, and a checklist for OER accessibility. The OER accessibility toolkit also provides additional resources that expand upon the basics that are covered.
We hope these OER insights will serve as helpful guideposts as you explore the world of OER and all that is available. As always, CIRT is here to continue the discussion or provide assistance when you are ready to dive deeper, so please don’t hesitate to reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (904) 620-3927.