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May 29 2007   3:31PM GMT

Open educational resources (OER): Creating an online education commons worldwide

GuyPardon Guy Pardon Profile: GuyPardon

Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to meet one of our readers in person, outside of comment sections, forums, email, IM or other virtual interactions.

It’s always a pleasure to get such direct feedback. When I asked what she liked (and didn’t like) about this blog, she mentioned that she appreciated past posts about free online education resources. (Just click on our learning tag to see them all to date.)

A simple search for other similar resources turns up many other hits, of course, notably for OER. OER stands for “Open Education Resources,” an effort to create a free, globally accessible commons for educational materials. In a spirit much like that of Professor Lessig’s Creative Commons, UNESCO‘s 2002 initiative encourages educators to publish learning content and the tools to create that content online, free of intellectual property considerations. You can learn more at the Open Education Conference’s Web site, if you’re interested in the movement.

As Wendy Boswell details in Technophilia, her typically brilliant column on Lifehacker, such free resources easily available online — if you know where to look. Wendy ends with where I’d begin, however, by suggesting using Google to uncover different kinds of learning content.

As Wendy points out, simply by using the right keywords, you can unearth course syllabi (insert your own subject), lectures, tutorials, notes, podcasts and online books , all through the magic of the Google search field.

When you’re done Googling, the Feds may be able to provide some help: Check out free.ed.gov for an index of different subject areas. The National Education Association also has a page full of free course materials for teachers and students.

Still want more?

FreebiesList.com has a long list of free educational resources.

Finally, in the spirit of the OER, the OpenCourseWare Consortium provides, according to their Web site, “free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses. The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 100 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.”

Did we miss any of your favorite resources? Let us know in the comments!

What new thing did you learn today?

[Image credit: MasterNewMedia.org]

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