Open Educational Resources (OER) are a win-win for everyone in higher education. In the fifth instalment of Stop, Improve, Start, Contact North | Contact Nord looks at what faculty, instructors, and education and training providers need to do to make the most of a multitude of resources.
- Stop looking for an exact match to your existing commercial resources, and reimagine the materials and resources you need to ensure your students achieve their learning objectives. No two textbooks, assessments or learning materials are the same. Go back to the objectives and start from there.
- Stop looking for perfection in open education resources. Good enough is good enough. You can “fill the gaps” through teaching or a student activity.
- Stop searching for materials on your own. Collaborate with others in your discipline / field of study and with your librarian(s). Working smarter will help you find more material faster.
- Improve your use of materials by adopting and then adapting them. The big idea of OER is to leverage the work of others, adapt it to your circumstances and then return it to the community — always acknowledging sources. Think re-use, repurpose, recycle!
- Improve your use of materials generally. When you ask a student to read something, listen to a podcast or watch a video, what is it you really want them to do? What questions do they need to explore when watching, reading or listening? What active work should this lead to? Scaffold their use of material.
- Improve the use of OER as collaborative tools. For example, use the waterfall technique in a Zoom call to get a one-sentence summary of the big learning from a particular reading or video and then use the resultant material for breakout conversations. You can also use a reading jigsaw (assigning different sections of a reading to different students within a group, and asking them to summarize their section for their peers) or other reading techniques to liven up the use of materials.
- Start replacing every item in your courses that costs the students money with free-to-use materials. It will take time to find quality materials, but there are millions of free resources waiting for you to find them. The 616 resources in the Ontario OER Open Library have so far saved 117,759 learners more than $12 million.
- Start creating OER for your students that meet your exact needs — whether these are texts, videos, assessments, games, lesson plans, designs for project work, labs — and share them with your peers and the OER community.
- Start asking your students to create OER and share them with you, your peers and the OER community. These can include peer assessment rubrics, project designs, assessment tools, lesson materials and videos.