My Winter 2013 OER Adventure

Hello fellow cohorts!  Of course, I’m running right up on the deadline, but I did do quite a bit of work this term that I want to share with you.  First, I modified my Moodle-based text-book free WR095 course in order to create a completely open access course website (outside of Moodle).  Also, I experimented with different methods incorporating the concept of the “flipped” classroom for my WR095 Hybrid this term.  I got great feedback from students, but as I mention in the screencast, there are a few elements I feel still need tweaking and some ways in which I still feel the need to be tied to Moodle.

Here’s a link to my open access website, which is also posted in Merlot.

And here’s my screencast on the whole process:

OER Conversion Screencast

I’d love any feedback you may have, and I’d be happy to answer questions or explicate the process further!  I definitely learned a lot this term that I will apply to future hybrid and online courses!

Water Conservation Resources

There is buzz throughout the utility world to push residential customers to reduce their current utility water use 75% by 2025.  Soon, we will all have to be more in touch with the water we use, where it comes from, where it is going to and how we treat it before and after we have had our way with it.  Hopefully, the information that I have provided here will help to answer some of these questions as well as address what alternate water sources there are to help meet our needs.

The world of water conservation is a burgeoning field with new water conservation positions opening up around the world daily.  Join us in LCC’s Water Conservation Technician Program to learn even more!!!

Here is a link to a you tube video about why I prefer a textbook-free class:

Here is a link to several resources and assignments that I use in the Water Conservation: Residential Indoor class:





Markup: Paperless Grading

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Kickstarter but for those who are not, is one of the newest generation of funding options for new inventors or entrepreneurs. It is a platform that gives people the opportunity to pitch an idea to the public. If the public likes the idea, they pledge to fund it at different levels and receive different pre-stated rewards. They are charged only if the funding goal is met. Funding is mediated through Kickstarter itself.  I peruse Kickstarter from time to time just to get an idea of what products will soon hit the market. In one of these perusals, I stumbled across something that might be of interest to instructors who have or are soon to have iPads. Hmmmm … If only I knew of a collection of such people …

What I found was a project called Markup. Markup purports to offer paperless grading and the video sales pitch looks promising. As they explain, students are writing their papers on computers, instructors are imputing grades on computers, why go through the paper stage at all? Their video shows a student emailing an instructor a paper. The instructor opens the paper in the markup software from the iPad. They then have an interface that allows them to use a stylus or their finger to make notes and corrections directly to the paper as if they were marking on it with pen. The demonstration did not show it, but I imagine that an instructor would then be able to return the paper with the comments and grade by replying to the original email.

Now I do not know if this will catch on, but the $3,000 they have generated so far indicates that there is at least some interest. That and at $2 for a download of the software, there is very little risk. If one is so disposed, they are also offering several funding packs that include perks like styluses and T-shirts. All of this happens only if they meet their funding goal within the next 19 days. If anyone is interested, I would suggest not putting it off for very long.

Wrapping up

As the cohort project draws to a close, below is a screen-cast detailing my progress so far. All things told, I managed to convert 5 classes to fully OER material (WR115, WR121, WR122, Lit104, and Lit105), using Project Gutenberg,, Librivox, and various other web resources. I have also fully integrated my Classwiki software with my Moodle coursework and uploaded Classwiki to Merlot. Thank you all for the support and feedback, and good luck in your own OER endeavors.