Advantages of Open Educational Resources through MERLOT (and Why that Google Search Is Wasting Time)
Concurrent Session 10
Presentation Abstract: Selected open educational resources (OER) from MERLOT’s digital resource collections highlight tools, media, and e-resources that positively impact teaching and learning.
The use of open educational resources (OER) in course design and teaching answers numerous faculty needs, including the problem of soaring textbook costs. Open online texts, open online courses, and various media and e-resources promote affordability and access for students who might otherwise elect to forgo required course resources or who might forgo a course altogether if the cost of learning materials is too high. At the same time, OER can offer faculty considerable flexibility in shaping courses and curricula while still ensuring adherence to key course outcomes.
Nonetheless, while OER may have achieved a level of prominence in academic debate and discussion, OER has not yet achieved mainstream status in college courses. Going Digital: Faculty Perspectives on Digital and OER Course Materials--a widely cited report summarizing the results of a 2016 Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA)-sponsored survey of “2,902 college and university faculty at 29 two- and four-year colleges and universities”—points to lingering questions about the degree to which digital learning resources positively impact student learning. Moreover, the data reveal that many faculty may not be well acquainted with OER although considerations related to quality and ease of access would be likely drivers of broader-scale adoption.
These findings speak to the value of more in-depth discovery (and sharing) about how the use of OER impacts the course experience for both faculty and students. To that end, this presentation will describe how MERLOT’s digital OER collections can inform teaching and learning across the disciplines. OER materials are submitted to MERLOT on an ongoing basis and take a wide variety of forms—including open texts, animations and simulations, collections, assessment tools, apps, and many other formats of resources. Offering an alternative to sifting through open Internet searches, many MERLOT resources are associated with peer reviews that address quality of content, potential effectiveness as a teaching tool, possible uses in the classroom, and even ease of instructional application.
Via the identification of selected learning materials from the MERLOT OER collections, the presenters will illustrate the application of OER for the enhancement of course design and pedagogy. Each resource will be demonstrated and/or surfed during the course of the presentation, and the presentation of each resource will address current issues in the area of OER: quality of materials, ease of access, impact on the student experience, and impact on faculty’s ability to effectively support course learning outcomes.
The presentation format will be interactive as the demonstration of e-resources lends itself to audience engagement, and will encourage participants to share their own experiences or perspectives on the benefits vs. challenges of working with OER.
- With MERLOT as the OER context, participants will identify benefits vs. barriers in classroom applications of OER.
- Participants will learn about and discuss specific digital learning and teaching resources from MERLOT across multiple disciplines.
- The presenters will share resource documents that incorporate links for all presented resources.
Green, K. (2016, February). Going digital: faculty perspectives on digital and OER course materials. Retrieved from https://www.campuscomputing.net/content/2016/2/19/going-digital-2016.