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Open education resources and the liberal arts: this season’s research initiative

by on February 15, 2012

"OER as a catalyst for faculty development"

How are liberal arts campuses making use of open education resources?  That’s the focus of a NITLE research project led by Lisa Spiro and Bryan Alexander.

It has several parts:

  • A survey: we’re asking campus leaders about how their institutions are using OER, as well as for their reflections on the movement. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from the NITLE Network are our first targets.
  • Interviews: we are having conversations with people involved in interesting OER projects.
  • A white paper: to be presented to the April NITLE Summit.
  • Social bookmarks: we are continuing to add resources to this Diigo group.

…and ongoing conversations all over the place, from social media to email to in-person.

Defining open education is famously tricky, so we’ve adopted a broad approach.  We’re looking for both producing and consuming digital resources intended for open use, along with: open source learning management systems (Moodle, Sakai, Segue); open courses (such as MOOCs); and student creation of open content.

NITLE first identified OER as a work topic last April, during a day-long session at that year’s Summit.  NITLE’s Board recommended a sustained focus on OER during their summer 2011 meeting.

(image by Matt Plourde)

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