Summer is finally coming to a close. Our unpredictable Kansas weather has already begun to fluctuate between a low of 68 and a high of 95; barbecues are being substituted for crockpot potlucks; and Starbucks has finally released the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I’m so anxious for the arrival of fall. For me, the upcoming Labor Day weekend is summer’s last hurrah. Labor Day gives us the chance to celebrate “the creation of the labor movement” while dedicating time “to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” My favorite social and economic achievers are our teachers. These men and women dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others. They work tirelessly to develop young minds and prepare them for adulthood. No one is more deserving of a three-day weekend than our teachers.
These teachers are often caught between the growing performance demands from administrators and parents and drastic budget cuts. Many of them spend their own money on their classrooms for basic supplies and textbooks. Luckily, online educational advancements provide opportunities for these teachers to access Open Educational Resources (OERs) that are peer-reviewed and free to students and educators. However, this movement is not just about accessing free information. It’s also about students and educators participating on a global scale to create and collaborate together.
This weekend, as you sip on your last cold beer of the summer, take some time to investigate the OERs available to you in your discipline. Here are some places to start!
- OER Commons: Launched in 2007, OER Commons is a growing collection of over 50,000 high-quality OER materials: “As a network for teaching and learning materials, the site offers engagement with resources for curriculum alignment, quality evaluation, social bookmarking, tagging, rating, and reviewing. “
- OpenStax: This website “offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. They are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers.”
- Open Course Library: This is a “Collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts.”
- The Orange Grove: Or “Florida’s Digital Repository,” this website “provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share, and contribute educational resources.”
Why ask educators and students to limit their collaborative opportunities? Let’s continue to celebrate Labor Day and our teachers by participating in America’s tradition of social and economic achievement through OERs. Let’s “Fall” into OERs together.
Next week, I’ll be writing about OER sources for the composition classroom. Stay tuned for more information about OERs and happy Labor Day!