A Few of My Favorite Resources

Here’s a quick rundown of the resources I use on a regular basis:

CK-12: CK-12 is a nonprofit organization that creates and curates academic content. While they focus primarily on STEM content, they do have some Language Arts and history content. CK-12 offers text files, quizzes, videos, study guides, and other content resources at a wide range of levels. I love two things about the CK-12 texts – first, most topics are offered at basic/at grade/advanced level options, and second, all text is completely editable. You can download complete textbooks, put your own text together from individual sections, or create a book from scratch. I created my own textbook from section files that matched my course content, then edited them for content and age-appropriateness. Also cool – texts can be linked to online or downloaded as pdfs, files for Kindles, or files for tablets. I especially like those last two options – they not only save students the cost of a text, but the cost of printing a digital text.

My Open Math: Another great, versatile site with a wealth of resources. My Open Math can function on its own as a course management site, or can be connected to Moodle. Instructors can build entire courses (import pre-build courses, start completely from scratch, or somewhere in between) that include textbooks, videos, assessments, links, etc. I primarily use My Open Math for two things – to create online practice assessments (drawn from MOM’s algorithmically generated question banks) for my students to complete during lab sessions, and to create problem sets for use in class – there is an option to generate paper versions of exercises created within the system. Despite the occasional glitch, the system is generally reliable and provides a decent variety of question types for most subjects. Arithmetic and geometry content is scant, but there are many algebra, college algebra, calculus, etc. options. As with CK-12, instructors can edit questions and use MOM tools to create questions. Highly recommended.

Tyler Wallace’s Beginning and Intermediate Algebra textbook: An open textbook with student solutions manual and workbooks. An editable version of all files is also available for download.

Kuta Software free worksheets: Kuta Software sells a program for generating customized math worksheets, but also provides a rather extensive bank of sample worksheets free on its website. Topics range from PreAlgebra to Calculus.

Khan Academy: I use Khan’s videos for homework assignments (previewing the next day’s lesson) and additional help outside of class; I’ve also used the practice exercises as additional review for students.

Braingenie: A component of CK-12, Braingenie is a gamified tutorial/practice site for math and science. Students can complete practice quizzes for various topics and units; they can also join “multiplayer” quizzes with other students using the site.

Blendspace: This website allows teachers to “bundle” resources found on the web – media files, pdfs, links, etc. – and share lessons with students and other teachers. I’ve been using Blendspace to create sets of practice/review materials for the various topics I cover in class. The site is extremely easy to use, and blended lessons are easy to embed into Moodle.

Dr. John Rasp’s Statistics Website: A collection of diverse data sets that can be downloaded as Excel spreadsheets. Great for real-life stats practice, linear modeling, etc.

NBC Learn: Again, mainly a paid service of the NBC network, but provides a section of educational videos that are accessible for free. Lots of STEM videos related to sports (my fave is on the science and math of hockey).

The Math Dude: Quick and Dirty Tips: Short, readable explanations of various math topics. Some interesting and fun seasonal/cultural math topics.

Math-Drills.com: Free, printable pdf worksheets on a variety of basic math topics. Good for review.

Math-Aids.com: Another free worksheet generator. Basic math – geometry.

A Few of My Favorite Resources

Here’s a quick rundown of the resources I use on a regular basis:

CK-12: CK-12 is a nonprofit organization that creates and curates academic content. While they focus primarily on STEM content, they do have some Language Arts and history content. CK-12 offers text files, quizzes, videos, study guides, and other content resources at a wide range of levels. I love two things about the CK-12 texts – first, most topics are offered at basic/at grade/advanced level options, and second, all text is completely editable. You can download complete textbooks, put your own text together from individual sections, or create a book from scratch. I created my own textbook from section files that matched my course content, then edited them for content and age-appropriateness. Also cool – texts can be linked to online or downloaded as pdfs, files for Kindles, or files for tablets. I especially like those last two options – they not only save students the cost of a text, but the cost of printing a digital text.

My Open Math: Another great, versatile site with a wealth of resources. My Open Math can function on its own as a course management site, or can be connected to Moodle. Instructors can build entire courses (import pre-build courses, start completely from scratch, or somewhere in between) that include textbooks, videos, assessments, links, etc. I primarily use My Open Math for two things – to create online practice assessments (drawn from MOM’s algorithmically generated question banks) for my students to complete during lab sessions, and to create problem sets for use in class – there is an option to generate paper versions of exercises created within the system. Despite the occasional glitch, the system is generally reliable and provides a decent variety of question types for most subjects. Arithmetic and geometry content is scant, but there are many algebra, college algebra, calculus, etc. options. As with CK-12, instructors can edit questions and use MOM tools to create questions. Highly recommended.

Tyler Wallace’s Beginning and Intermediate Algebra textbook: An open textbook with student solutions manual and workbooks. An editable version of all files is also available for download.

Kuta Software free worksheets: Kuta Software sells a program for generating customized math worksheets, but also provides a rather extensive bank of sample worksheets free on its website. Topics range from PreAlgebra to Calculus.

Khan Academy: I use Khan’s videos for homework assignments (previewing the next day’s lesson) and additional help outside of class; I’ve also used the practice exercises as additional review for students.

Braingenie: A component of CK-12, Braingenie is a gamified tutorial/practice site for math and science. Students can complete practice quizzes for various topics and units; they can also join “multiplayer” quizzes with other students using the site.

Blendspace: This website allows teachers to “bundle” resources found on the web – media files, pdfs, links, etc. – and share lessons with students and other teachers. I’ve been using Blendspace to create sets of practice/review materials for the various topics I cover in class. The site is extremely easy to use, and blended lessons are easy to embed into Moodle.

Dr. John Rasp’s Statistics Website: A collection of diverse data sets that can be downloaded as Excel spreadsheets. Great for real-life stats practice, linear modeling, etc.

NBC Learn: Again, mainly a paid service of the NBC network, but provides a section of educational videos that are accessible for free. Lots of STEM videos related to sports (my fave is on the science and math of hockey).

The Math Dude: Quick and Dirty Tips: Short, readable explanations of various math topics. Some interesting and fun seasonal/cultural math topics.

Math-Drills.com: Free, printable pdf worksheets on a variety of basic math topics. Good for review.

Math-Aids.com: Another free worksheet generator. Basic math – geometry.

Wrapping Up!

I put the finishing touches on my OER course this week, and I feel pretty good about what I’ve put together. While I consider this a work in progress, I feel like I can roll into fall term with my Math 4 course ready to go for my students.

I’ve really enjoyed this project, because it’s prompted me to do things that I’ve intended to do for a long time. My students now have a text book customized to our curriculum, practice materials for every lesson, and a bank of resources to help them outside of class. It took some time to put all of this together – I knew that would be the case, but it took more time than I anticipated – but I consider it time well spent.

Given that I teach students at the developmental level, I’m always challenged to find materials that meet them at both their academic level and level of maturity. My students are adults – while they may need to learn skills that are generally taught in middle or high school, they don’t want to solve problems about a kid saving his allowance for a video game. I had to wade through a lot of that type of material to find what I wanted, but I’m pleased to say that I was able to find resources that appeal to a more universal audience, or can be edited to make them more age-appropriate for my students.

My wrap-up video covers a few of the main OER resources that I used in constructing my class; for a more complete list, check out my next blog post.

Wrapping Up!

I put the finishing touches on my OER course this week, and I feel pretty good about what I’ve put together. While I consider this a work in progress, I feel like I can roll into fall term with my Math 4 course ready to go for my students.

I’ve really enjoyed this project, because it’s prompted me to do things that I’ve intended to do for a long time. My students now have a text book customized to our curriculum, practice materials for every lesson, and a bank of resources to help them outside of class. It took some time to put all of this together – I knew that would be the case, but it took more time than I anticipated – but I consider it time well spent.

Given that I teach students at the developmental level, I’m always challenged to find materials that meet them at both their academic level and level of maturity. My students are adults – while they may need to learn skills that are generally taught in middle or high school, they don’t want to solve problems about a kid saving his allowance for a video game. I had to wade through a lot of that type of material to find what I wanted, but I’m pleased to say that I was able to find resources that appeal to a more universal audience, or can be edited to make them more age-appropriate for my students.

My wrap-up video covers a few of the main OER resources that I used in constructing my class; for a more complete list, check out my next blog post.

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!

https://filehost.lanecc.edu/public.php?service=files&t=508dffbead6104c94867963c71906e8d

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.

Screencast workshop

Hello OER cohort,

I hope your spring term work is going well. Marisa asked me to offer a workshop on screencasting, so I’ve scheduled one for this Thursday 5/1 , from 11:30-12:30 in the ATC 1/121.

We’ll take a look at Screencast-O-Matic and learn techniques about screen recording to make demos for your classes. This will also help you to make the screencasts required for your final fellowship step. Join us!

screencast

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?