Monday, June 11, 2007

Triple header: eduCommons, OCW & New Media for Learning

For those that don't know me, I am spending my doctoral years working for the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL). The lead COSL project is eduCommons - open source software that supports any institution in the deployment of an OpenCourseWare (OCW) instance. Many people are aware of the initial OCW implementation by MIT; but a lot people are unaware that there are other OCW implementations and an OCW Consortium; and even fewer people are aware that there is eduCommons.

For those that aren't familiar with the concept of OpenCourseWare, the basic premise is that digital course materials, things such as syllabi, homework, even classroom videos, are made freely and openly available to the public. These materials can be used as refreshers for students that have previously taken the course, building material for instructors at other institutions constructing their own courses, learning for people without access to any educational institution, or any other reason a person wants. So how does a person find relevant material? If you know that a particular institution has a course of interest, you can start at that institution's OCW site. But if you aren't aware of any particular institution then you can use the OCW Consortium's search to find materials. For example, if you are interested in learning about how to use blogs or wikis in an educational setting, the first search item with the terms "blogs wikis" pulls up the "Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning" course from Utah State University.

The New Media for Learning course covers topics including, blogs, RSS, creating audio & video podcasts & screencasts, wikis, bookmark & photo sharing, folksonomies, GIS/maps/satellite tools, hacks and mash-ups. If you aren't familiar with some of these topics, you should check-out this course. As you make your way through it remember - there are many free and open materials available on OCWs that you can use in your own blogs, wikis, and any mash-up that you can imagine.

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