Empowering College students to be creators and curators of OER

Imagine the possibilities if students learned not only to use open educational resources (OER), but also to organize and design OER in their college courses. This action of moving college students from consumers to creators of OER can have positive impacts on their learning and can break down classroom walls by making the knowledge students build accessible to the public online (Trust & Maloy, 2022).

As university educators, we have been engaged in this type of open educational practice (Beetham et al., 2012) for several years. In our courses, we asked undergraduate and graduate students to add tool review pages to the Online Tools for Teaching and Learning OER website, make changes and additions to resourcesforhistoryteachers OER Wiki, design OER online courses to support educator learning (e.g. Designing Digital Media for Teaching and Learning; PLN for Educators), produce videos with OER material for interactive map campus resources and write multi-modal chapters for the OER e-book Teaching with digital tools and apps.

Analysis of post-course surveys from six of our courses in which students engaged in these projects revealed that student motivation and attitudes toward course content improved when they participated in these design projects. of REL. Additionally, students were able to develop several 21st century skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, technical literacy, creative thinking, planning) and gain knowledge that supported their ability to achieve goals. course learning.

Based on our findings, we believe that university students and educators can benefit from the curation and design of OER. As such, we offer the following tips for college instructors to incorporate OER design projects into their courses:

First, use an instructional design model, such as the ADDIE Instructional Design Model (see Trust & Pektas, 2018) or the Design Thinking Model, to strategically guide the design process. Both of these models encourage OER designers to begin by identifying and understanding a problem or need rather than jumping straight into building something. You can start by asking students to identify a specific problem or need related to your course content. For example, students in a teacher training course might identify the need for OER on how to effectively use technology in emergency distance learning or on how to enrich learning activities. writing with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In a science lesson, students might identify the need to improve how the media portrays traditionally marginalized groups of individuals in videos, news, or science textbooks. Then, during the design phase, encourage students to build a prototype of their OER on paper and pencil, post-it notes, or in a digital document rather than the digital medium where it will be produced (e.g., Google Sites, Canva, wiki). This makes it easier for students to make quick changes to their OER as they engage in usability and accessibility testing to ensure that their OER will be accessible to everyone. Then implement or share OER on social media and collect feedback to gauge its success.

Second, provide students with learning opportunities and resources to expand their knowledge of open licensing, copyright and fair use (see Selecting digital media for your website), design techniques (explore the Web Design Basics for Educators e-book) and places to find openly. licensed material (e.g. A Guide to Finding Media for Classroom Projects). There is “a growing need to build knowledge around open education, copyright, social media and networked learning as a core competency” (Paskevicius & Irvine, 2019, p. 8 ) and OER Design Projects are one such way to meet this need. You can start by encouraging students to remix OER created by others. They can start by searching the OER Commons or Mason OER Metafinder database for OER materials. Then they can analyze the license of the materials they find to determine if and how they can remix and use the materials in their OER design project. They can also decide which type of open license to select for their OER design project (see Choosing a Creative Commons License).

Third, to help students develop their information and media skills, particularly in the areas of locating reliable online information and identifying diverse perspectives and media to include in OER materials. Given the amount of disinformation, misinformation, and misinformation (Shrader, 2021) online, students must learn to critically assess and identify information that they can use to design the text and multimodal content of their REL brackets. The bill please! Start-up course and Critical Media Education and Civic Learning eBook offers several resources and activities to help students develop their information literacy and critical media literacy skills. Students should also learn to design OER that includes diverse perspectives and voices. One of the many benefits of OER is that it opens up access to learning for people around the world. However, when OERs are primarily written by white, English-speaking, American or European academics, and feature their voices, this limits the “open” aspect of OERs. Before starting an OER design project, have students explore Open to margins, an open access e-book edited by Bali, Cronin, Czerniewicz, DeRosa, and Jhangiani (2020), then consider how they can make their OER media more inclusive.

Fourth, provide students with the opportunity to learn to work together during their OER projects to develop their skills in teamwork, collaboration, and communication. Many students who worked on our OER design projects identified several benefits to collaborating with their classmates, however, several students also mentioned that the challenges of working in teams had a negative impact on their motivation and their attitudes towards learning and towards OER design projects. Before assigning group work, it can be helpful to start by discussing ways in which teams can be effective, productive, and supportive. For example, you can encourage students to break down the assignment into smaller tasks, determine the roles or tasks of each member of the group, and set up a communication strategy for group work. With some support, the gains of collaboration can outweigh the challenges of working with others.

Ultimately, the creation and curation of OER provides a way to expand the scope and depth of student learning across disciplines and areas of work. The creation and curation of OER prepares students to be active producers of knowledge rather than passive receivers of knowledge. It guides them to be ahead of the curve – to become change innovators who think outside the confines of traditional practices. It allows them to broaden their skills and become creative designers of knowledge and producers of materials that open access to learning. Given our highly technological and interconnected world, the creation and curation of OER is an essential experience in a true 21st century college education.


Torrey Trust, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Learning Technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst. His scholarship and teaching focus on how technology shapes the learning of educators and students. In 2018, Dr. Trust was selected as one of five global recipients of the ISTE Making IT Happen Award, which “honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate commitment, leadership, courage and extraordinary perseverance in improving digital learning opportunities for students”. www.torreytrust.com

Robert Maloy, EdD, is a lecturer in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he coordinates the history teacher training program and co-directs the TEAMS Tutoring Project, a community engagement initiative / service learning through which university students tutor culturally and linguistically diverse students at public schools in the Connecticut River Valley area of ​​western Massachusetts. He is co-author of two recent open books, Building Democracy for All: Interactive Explorations of Government and Civic Life and Critical Media Literacy and Civic Learning.

The references

Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L. & Littlejohn, A. (2012). Open Practices: Backgrounder. JISC. https://oersynth.pbworks.com/w/page/51668352/OpenPracticesBriefing

Paskevicius, M., & Irvine, V. (2019b). Designing open education and learning: open pedagogy in practice. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019(1-10). https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.512

Schrader, J. (2021). The Intent Behind a Lie: Error, Misinformation, and Misinformation. psychology today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/misinformation-desk/202112/the-intent-behind-lie-mis-dis-and-malinformation

Trust, T. & Pektas, E. (2018). Using the ADDIE Model and Universal Design for Learning Principles to develop an open online course for teacher professional development. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 34(4), 219-233.

Trust, T. & Maloy, R. (2022). Engagement of college students in OER design projects: impacts on attitudes, motivation and learning. Manuscript submitted for publication.


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