The OER101 course I created exemplifies my ability to meet Competency 8. OER101: How to Find OER For Your Course is an online training module designed to help faculty interested in incorporating open educational resources (OER) into their class locate appropriate OER for their subject area of expertise using search tools like the Open Textbook Library and the Creative Commons search engine. The design document I created during the analysis and design phase of this project demonstrates my ability to plan and design effective learning environments and experiences. The WordPress platform OER101 is built on shows my ability to take those plans and bring them to life using technology in a way that supports and enhances the design.
Assessment and evaluation in OER101 further shows my ability to apply technology to learning environments. Some assessments were built directly into the WordPress platform, while others were built in Google Forms and then embedded into the course site. Google Forms allowed me to create a user-friendly assessment tool that would provide automatic feedback for learners. Understanding my audience’s needs, I knew that faculty would want to progress through this module quickly, so providing instant feedback was important. Moreover, using embed codes allowed the two technologies to integrate seamlessly, giving users one simple platform. I also took the learning experience a step further by purchasing the domain name OER101.com and then forwarding that address to the real URL OER101 lives on (https://edspace.american.edu/oer101/). Access to learning is important, and a simple URL to direct people to helps to increase access.
My consideration of easy access and user-friendly design shows my commitment to human issues surrounding the use of technology. OER101 also inherently demonstrates an understanding of social, ethical, and legal issues. Open educational resources are fundamentally about social justice and equal access to knowledge. WordPress, an open access software, similarly helps with the free dissemination of knowledge. Both the content and delivery method of my course speak to my commitment to social equality. Moreover, OER combats the ethical issues surrounding rapidly rising textbook prices. With commercial publishers continually trying to confuse students and faculty with practices like co-opting the term “open education” without actually being open, or implementing electronic access codes that limit access to learning materials, OER101 is an attempt to fight back against these ethical perversions.
Finally, the underlying mechanism to open education and open educational resources is legal copyright. A big part of this learning module is teaching faculty about copyright issues and how open licenses aren’t meant to eliminate one’s legal copyright, but add to it and enhance it, by giving the creator the ability to tell downstream users exactly how they’re allowed to use the material they created. My course itself is openly licensed, allowed others to take it and remix it if they want, so long as they attribute me as the original creator. Again, using an open source platform like WordPress allows me to give users that permission as my technology is not proprietary or commercially locked down.
I’m proud of the way OER101 turned out and hope to continually improve and build upon it — or better yet, have others take it and improve it for their purpose and their audience. Learning is sharing, and that’s what this course is all about.