Platforms for Open Content
- Do you know your students’ preferences for accessing course content?
- Are you using existing open educational resources as-is?
- Are you combining two or more open educational resources or creating original content?
Simplest option: Use OER where you find it
You might not have to make a very big change in content delivery when you replace commercial course materials with OER. Some openly licensed textbooks are available in a variety of formats, print and online, much like all-rights-reserved copyrighted textbooks. For example, OpenStax textbooks can be accessed online, downloaded as PDFs, linked in the learning management system, purchased as hardcover books, and more.
- Example: OpenStax Prealgebra (openly licensed textbook that is very similar to a commercial textbook in most respects)
A little less simple: Share word processing documents
You are probably already comfortable with Word, Google Docs, or another application to compose, edit, and format text. You can easily convert to universal formats such as PDF and share files or links to files with students via the syllabus, learning management system, or other delivery method. Keep in mind that the longer your document is, the more difficult it will be for students to navigate.
- Example: COMM 215 course pack (nicely formatted course pack of openly licensed readings)
A little more complex: Use the learning management system
Your school’s learning management system (LMS) can be used to deliver course readings, either as a single file or broken out into units.
Pros: you and your students already access the LMS for course-related information; no additional user accounts are needed; you can easily share proxied links to library content.
Cons: you might not like your LMS; you might need additional training on your LMS; it’s more difficult to share your open course with others.
- Example: CIS 101 course shell (openly licensed Moodle course)
Most complex: Use an external platform
If you are doing extensive revising/remixing, or if you are developing original content from scratch, you might want to use a platform that offers more control over formatting and sharing your work. Some of these platform have a learning curve.
Frequently used external platforms:
- Pressbooks (example: Beginning Excel) is a good choice for book-like content. Books can be read online, exported in a number of different formats, or set up for print on demand. Create a free account via pressbooks.org or contact your local point person to find out about an institutional Pressbooks account.
- My Open Math (example: MTH 243) supports course content and interactive problems.
- WeBWorK (example: ORCCA: Open Resources for Community College Algebra) is a very accessible platform that supports interactive math problems and exports in many formats.
- OER Commons authoring tools
- Blog or website (example: MS Office OER Work Examples)
- Not recommended: CNX (example: Cell Biology for Health Occupations) - this platform is retiring!