Open Educational Resources: January 19 - February 8, 2009

How do you create OERs? Finding the balance

Re: How do you create OERs? Finding the balance

by Scott Leslie -
Number of replies: 0
I want to acknowledge right off that the 'solutions' to the 'problems' of OER are never going to be solely technical (indeed may only minorly be technical ones). But I did start this particular thread to explore how the ways we create OERs can have a profound effect, on what we create, how we teach, and the sustainability of the whole enterprise. So I'm going to keep trying to introduce some ideas along those lines.

Many will be familiar with the idea of using blogs and wikis for online learning. There are many good reasons to try this, not least of which is - they are simple. Rather than thinking of blogs as 'personal journals' instead it might be more profitable to consider them as the simplest web-publishing system there is (similarly, the creator of the wiki termed them "simplest online database that could possibly work.")

Why is this important? Well, as friends have tried to explain http://opencontentdiy.wordpress.com/ and demonstrate in courses like http://newmediaocw.wordpress.com/, once you start creating your courses in blogs, not only do you have a simple thing to then maintain, you are also at the start of a distributed platform for remixing and reuse, as demonstrated in projects like http://eduglu.learningparty.net/ and http://bavatuesdays.com/proud-spammer-of-open-university-courses/. Because not only are blogs the simplest web publishing platform around, they produce RSS, XML, a format that frees the content from it's specific presentation and let it flow where it needs to go. Where the students or other instructors might like it to go.

And wikis - not just simple collaborative editing places. With the addition of the WikiInc plugin, for instance, mediawiki is transformed into a distributed publishing platform.

I am not really doing justice to each of these innovations in this short post, but if you are not already familiar with these techniques I urge you to follow up on some of the links. The reasons why many of us have been excited by the potential of social software and 'web 2.0' in education extends far beyond the fact that the tools are easy to use and reflect more the social nature of learning. They extend to how they can become (have already become for many of us) an everyday platform for swimming in the seas of open content, remixing as we go.