Monday, September 7, 2009

Open Education Resources

Overview of the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services program (OLCOS)

The OLCOS state aim "at building an (online) information and observation center for promoting the concept, production and usage of open educational resources, in particular, open digital educational content (ODEC) in Europe." According to the report on the OLCOS,Open Educational Practices and Resources. OLCOS Roadmap 2012, published in January 2007 the purpose is to "carry out a set of activities that aim at fostering a set of activities that aim at fostering the creation, sharing and re-use of Open Education Resources---(OER). The following overview will define the terminology associated with OER and OLCOS, identify the range of sites that provide open education resources, the development of WEB 2.0, Web 3.0 and the benefits and challenges associated with OER. This report address the need 'to foster open practices of teaching and learning that are informed by a competency based educational framework."

OER is defined as access to open content, including meta-data that is provided free of charge for educational institutions, content services, and the end users such as teachers, students and lifelong learners. It is intended that the content is liberally licensed for re-use in educational activities, favorable free from restriction to modify, combine and re purpose the content, consequently that the content should ideally be designed for re-use in the open content standards. The development of Web2.0 complimented OER very well. OER is based upon the collaboration of teams in reviewing and ensuring the quality of resources. Given that Web 2.0 is various defined in this article by O'Reilly as fundamentally user driven, collaborative, user designer, interactive, and dynamic. Further definitions of Web 2.0 can be found in Wikipedia, expanded by the advent of personal learning environments which is defined as: systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to set their own learning goals,manage their learning; managing both content and process,communicate with others in the process of learning, and thereby achieve their learning goals. Guides such as this; Web2practice maybe helpful in further defining the role of Web2.0 in teaching and learning. "Web2Practice is a site which provides guides to emergent technologies and innovative practice," retrieved from the website.

OER provide benefits to the following stakeholders: Instructors, learners or students, and employers
Personal Learning Environments are further defined here by Graham Atwell as recognizing that learning is ongoing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning. It also recognizes the role of the individual in organising his or her own learning. Moreover, the pressures for a PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not be provided by a single learning provider. Linked to this is an increasing recognition of the importance of informal learning.

Open education resources and learning object repositories provide access to resource which a learner can use for creating his/her own personal learning environment in order to achieve certain learning outcomes. OER may include free and open textbook sites, learning object repositories, documentary and video sites, document sites, etc. A list of some of these is as follows;

Open Education Resources:

iBerry is a non-profit making, private website providing information and resources for learners, educators, researchers and anyone else with an interest in Higher Education.

Learning object repository:

Merlot: a leading edge, user-centered, search-able collection of peer reviewed and selected higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services. MERLOT's vision is to be a premiere online community where faculty, staff, and students from around the world share their learning materials and pedagogy.

New Media Consortium maintains this directory of learning object repositories on the web.

Online books and textbooks:

FlatWorldKnowledge: Our peer-reviewed books are written by experts, professionally developed and supported by supplements. There the similarity to traditional books ends. Our books are free online in multiple formats (softcover, audio, self-print versions) and open-source so you can modify them to fit your course.

OpenTextbook: Open Text Book is a registry of textbooks (and related materials) which are open — that is free for anyone to use, reuse and redistribute. It is run by the Open Knowledge Foundation


Top Documentary Films: TDF offers full watchable documentaries and information on documentaries by quoting reviews from trusted sources. In case you decide to buy your favorite documentary film, or you want to get some more information on some of the docs (documentaries) there is a store available for that. Documentaries are classified in categories and you can easily find what you are looking for.

The Internet archive: Welcome to the Archive's Moving Images library of free movies, films, and videos. This library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download

Snag films:

is committed to finding the world‘s most compelling documentaries, whether from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers, and making them available to the wide audience these titles deserve. is a website where you can watch full-length documentary films for free, but we’re also a platform that lets you “snag” a film and put it anywhere on the web. With a library of over 850 films, and rapidly growing, you’re bound to find films that resonate with your interests. We make it easy for you to find a film that shines a light on a cause you care about. You can then open a virtual movie theater on any web site, so any one can watch your favorite SnagFilms for free.

Virtual reality:

Virtual body: Just found this one today!

The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time is a partnership between the Palace Museum and IBM. The goal of the project is to provide the means for a world-wide audience to celebrate and explore aspects of Chinese culture and history

Second Life sites such as: Frank Lloyd Wright Museum,

Semantic Web Initiatives such as



Twine To search out the evidence for use and reuse of open educational resources.....stated purpose from the website; the aim of OLnet is to tackle gathering evidence and methods about how we can research and understand ways to learn in a more open world, particularly linked to Open Educational Resources (OER) but also looking at other influences. We want to gather evidence together but also spot the ideas that people see emerging from the opportunities.

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