This week in the edX course, Introduction to Open Education, there is a strong focus on “creating, finding, and using OERS.” This is a nice change from the general focus of copyright and creative commons. I have decided to look into different OER databases and provide them to you with short summaries. Not only could this help you in your future courses, but, it serves as a nice reminder for myself.
According to the “About Us” page, OpenStax “is a nonprofit based at Rice University, and it’s [their] mission to improve student access to education” (OpenStax, n.d. pp.1). While exploring this site I found that it only covers five different categories of materials: math, science, social sciences, humanities, and AP. Looking deeper into the resources they are fairly basic in the nature of their content – this content could be used in a entry level course or a general core course at a university. These OERs look and operate just like an eBook from a commercial publisher. While I personally would not use this site as it does not cover the subjects that I teach, I would recommend it to those in the previously states disciplines.
This website is a digital public library and covers a wider range of topics and concentrations than OpenStax. This website also offers instructors the ability to create using their resource builder, lesson builder, and module builder. The types of material available for use are very diverse, anything from case studies to simulations, you could find anything your academic heart desires. Under each OER there is a “conditions of use” which lets the user know how the user can manipulate the artifact – most are remix and share. I personally plan on using this website for my future courses as there are so many artifacts to choose from and all are at no cost to the student!
At first glance this site does not offer much visually which could turn-off some viewers who are already familiar with the previous two resources. The website does have an FAQ which does a decent job of answering the most basic questions regarding OERs and creative commons. When searching their database the list of items that appear are hard to read and uninviting despite how good their content may be. Honestly, this website did not offer much and I would not really recommend it to anyone searching out innovative OERs for their classes.
Keep in mind there is a vast amount of OER databases and I only covered three for the sake of time – plus no one wants to read while I drone on about my opinion on websites all day. Instead I will include a link where you can find a list of high quality OER databases that I hope you will enjoy: