Monday, June 23, 2008

Open Educational Resources and Open Courseware

Are you familiar with OER and OCW? If not and you are interested in repositories, then you should be familiar with these terms.

OER stands for Open Educational Resources (OER), a world wide movement to make open educational resources freely available, at no cost, and free of restrictions. The Hewlett Foundation has funded multiple projects to enable this movement. Examples are: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware (OCW) Project, Rice University Connexions, and Creative Commons. The Hewlett Foundation has also funded the Monterey Institute's National Repository of Online Courses which has a cost associated for a state, consortium or institution to become a participating member with benefits. However, content is also freely available from their website -

I just discovered an outstanding website that provides a comprehensive list of OER and OCW resources. Make sure that you scroll down, down, down, to see the long list of repository/content links for the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Translation Affiliates, and Others. At the very bottom is a link to OER/Free Repositories. This is a compendium of resources that you won't want to miss knowing about.

There is also a Google custom search for OER/OCW repositories which you can embed on your own website, by copying the code at this website:

The Stingy Scholar blog lists their top 14 MIT OCW courses and summarizes the materials provided: The courses are:
1. Introductory Biology, Spring 2005
2. Aircraft Systems Engineering, Fall 2005 - The course was administrated by the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project Manager and a shuttle astronaut.
3. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (Spring 2005)
4. Symmetry, Structure, and Tensor Properties of Materials, Fall,2005
5. Chinese (Regular) which includes a "great free textbook and audio pronunciation files" including a downloadable study software to test yourself.
6. Electromagnetic Fields, Forces, and Motion, Spring 2005
7. Advanced Fluid Dynamics of the Environment, Fall 2002
8. Software Engineering for Web Applications, Fall 2003
9. Logic I, Fall 2005
10. Quantitative Physiology: Organ Transport Systems, Spring 2004
11. Managing Innovation: Emerging Trends, Spring 2005
12. Inventions and Patents, Fall 2005
13. Structural Analysis and Control, Spring 2004
14. Classical Mechanics: A Computational Approach, Spring 2002

The OCW movement is still evolving. MIT and The Open University have taken two different approaches. The Stingy Scholar summarizes these approaches on a 3.1.2007 posting. The point is that OCW does not provide a "turn key" solution where a faculty member or a student has everything they need to learn the subject matter.

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