Involving Students in OER

Given that Open Educational Resources (OER) are a relatively recent development in higher education, many people are still exploring the ways they can be leveraged towards the goal of increased student engagement.

For the most part, OER are made available online, thereby granting all users access ( (as long as the individual has a working Wi-Fi connection and internet-ready device). But OER are not synonymous with “digital,” since they require the additional consideration of being openly-licensed.

Theoretically, a printed course pack could also qualify as an open resource, if it had been released under an open license. For this reason, identifying the specific advantage of OER (as opposed to digital materials or online learning) can be tricky. A variety of projects are underway to explore this issue.

1) Prof. Matt Brim (College of Staten Island, CUNY) challenged his graduate students to seek out materials that could be integrated into OER, for the field of Queer Studies. The resulting site, Free Queer CUNY, showcases these items and offers student feedback about how they could be used in class.

2) Although created for a high school class, the concept has potential for the college level as well – students were asked to “translate” Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities into 21st century English. Their “translation” is offered as a parallel to the original, providing an interesting comparison for discussion.

Feedback on the Learning Objects assignment from U. of British Columbia

3) A Physics course from the University of British Columbia requires students to create “learning objects.” The concept is that if students interact with the material with the goal of teaching others, it will enrich their own experience.

And finally, here is a list of Open Pedagogy Assignments, compiled into a shared doc by educator Quill West.

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