Course shell completion

I would like to thank all those who assisted in the development of my course shell. Jen was very helpful and available which was nice.

I am glad to be part of this movement to reduce student book fees and provide information to fellow Faculty members to enhance education. Good luck and have a great Summer!

The Finish Line

After much hard work and a lot of fun, I’ve finished developing my OER WR122 course and have begun to implement it this term.

Students were ecstatic to not have to spend money on a textbook for the course and have found the OER resources I compiled quite helpful.  In their first reflections in the course, several of them spoke to how important specific OERs have been to their journey in the course and to helping them become better writers.

In my feedback on student drafts, I’ve directed many of my students to specific OER links on the NCU Writing Center website that was one of my favorite finds in the process.  I love that this website gives students the opportunity to focus in on the specific writing areas, like introductions, citations, incorporating sources, and writing thesis statements that they are struggling with as individual writers.

I met with Jen today, who generously tutored me through the creation of my first screencast, where I got so speak about the challenges and victories of my OER journey, as well as offer advice to others considering the OER route and speak to how I’ve begun to implement the course.  The screencast can be viewed here.

Thanks for following me in my journey through this OER cohort.  I hope I’ve inspired you to begin your own OER journey.

Taking shape…

In beginning this project, I felt as though I was gathering tons of little pieces of information and resources. In fact, it often felt as though the resources available on the web were as limitless as grains of sand on the beach! But, now I have built a sand castle (or maybe it’s a sand “fort” – not castle status yet). I have uploaded the majority of my OER course into a Moodle test shell and would love to share it with any who are interested. Send me an email and I’ll be happy to add you as a course reviewer.

A final piece I would still like to add is a resource where I utilize Camtasia or some sort of screen capture software. I will be working on that in the weeks to come!


All done and final video!

I have finished building my OER shell for GEOG 201, which I have already started using this term.  The video discussion of the course ran a little long, but not too bad.  As with all of my courses, I plan to keep adding and refining material as I find it, but the course is in a usable format as of right now.  I am teaching this as a hybrid course so there is only one lecture each week plus online discussion exercises.

When You Said it Would Take Time, I Didn’t Know You Meant TIME……

“Wait!  Did you say that I could set up OERs for a class and possibly get an iPad?  What a great idea!  Count me in, and I’ll find a couple of colleagues to help with this.”  We desperately needed to pool resources anyways because the class we teach does not have a book.  There literally is not a textbook that would account for more than a couple of lectures.  The class Ocean Life Foundations is a general biology course for non-majors but is in the marine biology series.  There are lots of marine biology texts on the market that cover groups of organisms, habitats, and environmental impact but none that focus on cellular biology in a marine environment.  Most marine texts have only a couple of paragraphs dedicated to these topics.  If we decided to use a general biology book, it would cover the cellular biology but not the marine biology topics.  So, should we have students purchase 2 or 3 textbooks with a cost of over $200 when they would only use a few segments?  The resounding answer was “of course not!” 

Some students have difficulty with a class that does not come with a textbook, even though there are textbooks they could borrow from the Science Resource Center if they desired.  This means that we are regularly digging up resources to post on Moodle.  With the demands of teaching, busy schedules, and personal lives, we really haven’t had much time to share what we’ve found with each other.  Consolidating all of these resources will make it easier for each of us to incorporate new ideas and activities into our teaching, as well as making access to resources much easier for students.

Now that we have started the process of acquiring OERs, I have discovered how incredibly TIME consuming it is.  I find it is like being sucked into some kind of portal where I start in one place, follow a pathway, and end up in a totally different place with no idea of how I got there!  Along the way I’ve found other paths that I didn’t want to follow because I liked the current path but that I should investigate in the future.  Now how the heck do I get back to where I was?  I’d be hitting the “back” button forever!

Other problems we’ve encountered involve what would be expected when you try to merge three instructors with three different classes into one cohesive Moodle site.  We each cover the course outcomes but using different examples, ideas, and topics. What we’re creating is a site with many different topics that can be pursued depending on the instructor’s interest and expertise.  Now the main concern is organizing the material into cohesive groups and attaching labs and assessment activities.  And with the children running and screaming in the background, did I mention how locating OERs sucks me into a time portal?

Mid OER Check

Last term I worked on collecting resources for my six modules. I have parts of all six now. I also have fully completed one module on Note Taking. And I spent some time developing the template I want to sue for the modules. Since I have the Moodle development shell my modules will be posted there. So I have accomplished several things and made progress on my OER EL115 course. I just have to remember to blog about it!

So far, the biggest challenge has been finding open source readings. The ones I find need to be heavily edited to match the content we use at Lane in the course and to fit our student population. Also, I want them to be consistent in voice if possible. So I am spending quite a bit of time editing. It has been easy to find videos, self-assessments, and other materials, though.

This term I plan to put all of the materials into the module format I am using and get them posted on Moodle. And I have made notes on my calendar to remember to blog!

March OER Update

Thank goodness this is not a blogging fellowship! I would fail! 🙂

Work is coming along on my OER course. I have been able to move fully away from a text and am actually much happier with both the depth and breadth of the content that I am able to provide my students. The library’s option for students to check out e-readers or to download electronic books onto their computers free of charge has been a huge help! In the course I am working on, I have always allowed a great deal of latitude in the selection of one of their assigned readings. The e-readers have allowed me to keep that option open without an added dollar cost.

My next goal will be to upload some of the articles, books, videos, etc. that I have collected into the Moodle shell for the OER. I am teaching this course Spring term, so the “real” Moodle page is live and I would be happy to give anyone access to it who would like it!


The Progress Report

Ahhh, the progress report. Those little words that strike fear in the hearts of many a high school and elementary school child. But, not so much for me as I am happy to “report” that my “progress” is coming along swimmingly.

What have I accomplished so far?
I have accomplished a great deal of research, which is the way I typically approach any project. Sitting off to the side of my desk is a notebook filled with colorful printouts of various websites and online places to which I can direct my students, once I move to the next stage: setting up the class.

What challenges have I overcome?
One challenge was figuring out what was and how to do a webcast. I have that somewhat down now, so that when I am at the end of the project, I will not be delayed by having to learn how to finish the presentation.

Another challenge I have worked through is finding the time to devote to this project. I hear excuses every day of every term about the lack of time students have to devote to their schoolwork; I agree there is a shortage of time out there. However, nothing was ever earned by making up excuses—one must work through the obstacles. So, I have made some sacrifices: birthday celebrations shortened, grandchild time shortened, and sleeping time shortened. It is all working out.

Another challenge continues to be the idea of working in the virtual world for a humanities class, which, by its very nature, requires other humans. It seems counter-intuitive to think that a student could have a full rounded, dramatic literature experience completely on his/her own online, but through my research, I believe this is now quite possible. Part of this class will be to go and view a live performance. Through a very small, but productive informal poll, I have found that the majority of students have not spent any time going to their local community theaters or to any larger productions in metropolitan areas. This requirement should help students value the energy that is exchanged in a live performance-something uniquely human and not available online.

What are my remaining goals?
I need to structure the class, so that it does not resemble the “cookie cutter” online class of discussion, quiz, read, discussion, quiz, read, etc. That is not what reading dramatic literature is about. Therefore, researching some new online methods is still in my “to do” basket.
Once that is complete, I need to upload the class in a Moodle shell and make my webcast.

Overall, I feel that my time has been well spent and that the majority of the work (research) is completed. Now all I need to do is to sort it out and organize it.

Midterm Update

Now that the start of teaching my OER course is near, I have it almost ready to go.  I have the majority of the readings on Moodle and have built all of the assignments.  All I have left to do is put together lecture slides and then fill out the readings as I identify anything that is missing.  I am completely confident the course will work as an OER course.