The Amazing World of Open Education Resources

Last week the course content and my blog post led me in the direction of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and my mind was pretty blown. I’ve heard people talk about these online courses but it wasn’t until I started looking deeper into the countless options available that it really struck me – WOW this is SO cool!

This week I explored TEDEd and Open Learn and I’m here to offer you my personal realizations, reactions and most importantly evaluation of these sites/resources.

First up to the plate..

TEDEd
Although I have heard of TED-ed and watched the odd video that pops up on my FB News Feed, I have never truly taken advantage of the site itself or used it for my own classroom. I was instantly drawn into the engaging setup which allows you to visually “preview” the videos. The wide range of topics had me instantly excited as I could see this being a solid “go to” site for educational resources and short video clips to either introduce or review curriculum content.

ted ed pic
Although the videos were of extremely interesting topics and fun facts, I found it difficult to find content that directly related to the outcomes I’m working with. This isn’t to say this site doesn’t offer anything of value – it truly does. But perhaps it doesn’t fully align with outcomes in the way I had hoped for and I need to adjust my view of this sites purpose. Will I be able to consistently find a video to support my lesson specific to a certain strategy or content?  Maybe not. But will I be able to find an engaging video to stimulate discussion within my classroom? Absolutely!

I was instantly excited about the well organized theme menu along the left hand side (Health, Literature, Mathematics, Science and Technology etc.). I used the search bar to locate different learning topics “rocks and minerals” or “Agriculture” but didn’t have much luck finding content related to learning outcomes.

All in all, I think this is a good site filled with quality educational videos. Each video is designed with a lesson and offers a “Watch, Think, Dig Deeper, Discuss” links that provide interesting discussion questions and prompts for teachers to use and to support this video portion of the resource.

Image result for pros and cons gif
Image via Traffic Challan

Pros: 
Fun, engaging, quality videos on a variety of interesting topics
Great conversation starters and videos to facilitate student discussions
Easy to use menus and toolbar
Easy to navigate – filters to access age appropriate videos
Flipped classroom resources

Cons: 
Challenge to find content that relates to curriculum topics
Wide range of topics result in narrow focus rather than deep learning

Next up…
Open Learn

Open Learn is Moodle based learning resource through the UK’s Open University. 

One of the pro’s of Open Learn is the easy to use user interface and of course the free content which includes over 1000 courses. The site is easy to navigate with menus that allow you to access a wealth of different courses. I wanted to get a grasp of what this site could offer me as an educator. Clicking on “Education and Development” I am was impressed with the variety of courses I could explore for free in terms of professional development. I’ve attached a list (although it’s not a complete list) of some of the topics offered within the Education category alone.

open ed pic 1

open ed pic 2open ed pic 3

Image via Open Learn
Another benefit of open education is quick and cost effective way to access information as opposed to the using textbooks which quickly become outdated. “Open Learn allows users to download, modify, translate and adapt to their culture to the material to enhance its usefulness. They provide the opportunity for people to work together to co-modify, co-produce, test and co-produce again, retesting derivative material which generates a cycle of rapid continuous improvement. Using technology Open Educational Resources aim to remove access barriers to knowledge and educational opportunities around the world.” (Wikipedia, 2017) The idea of collaboration and sharing is strong in the world of open education.

Open learn allows you to choose differing levels of courses from introductory to advanced and provides a multitude of different course lengths from 4 hours to 100 hours depending on the course you take.

openlearnpic

Image via Open Learn

I think this is a great resource for anyone who wants to grow in a specific skill and develop themselves personally and professionally. I feel like this is a quality resource and was unable to find many flaws or cons towards this site or it’s content. One question that comes to mind is how content relates to us in Canada. Does being based in the UK impact the content for me personally? I tried to find the answer for myself, and being it is an Open Ed site there are many wide open courses however in the area of business some courses are specific to to certain locations – for example “Why are Public Companies Vanishing in America?”  Would it be somewhat difficult to find Canadian content?

After a quick search in the Open Learn search bar, I was quickly directed to a large amount of courses that touch on information about Canada across many subject areas. Clearly availability of Canadian content is not an issue in  the UK originated Open Learn platform.

Pros:
– Large variety of topics and courses to choose from
-Easy to use interface
– Options to connect with other users and ask questions in a comment field within the course
– Courses available computer, mobile phone or tablet
– Easy to understand Copy Right Info (See image below)

Open learn copyrightinfopic
The free content in which Open Learn owns copyright is available to use under the
Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike’ .  Open learn tries to release to as much information as they can under an open license as cost is usually the most common barrier for those seeking higher education.  Open Learn  also created a sister website called OpenLearn Create which allows users to take Open Learns content and ” rework it or adapt it for your own use and then contribute it back into the OpenLearn community by placing it in OpenLearn Create.” (Open Learn FAQ’s). Open Learn is a neat resource to keep in mind regardless of your profession. I believe with the wide range of courses available, the only problem you may have is narrowing your choices down to one course!

Until next time!
Tayler

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One thought on “The Amazing World of Open Education Resources

  1. Pingback: Marley's Semester in EC&I 831

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