Free educational resources for everyone?

07.04.2016 von Corinna Bertz in Featured
Not only are research data and scientific publications often freely accessible online, today a lot of teaching and learning material can also be found on the Internet – in the form of textbooks, videos, entire online courses, and worksheets. The term “open educational resources” (OER) was first used in 2002 to refer to any teaching and learning resources that were in the public domain, free to use, or which could be developed or changed under an open licence agreement.
Pictures, videos, worksheets: A lot of teaching and learning material can be found on the Internet.
Pictures, videos, worksheets: A lot of teaching and learning material can be found on the Internet. (Foto: Anke Tornow)
Kevin Atkins
Kevin Atkins
(Foto: Anke Tornow)

This made a wide selection of material available to university instructors, teachers and anyone willing to learn. It came with a hitch though: “There is no central port of call on the Web for these open educational resources,” says Kevin Atkins from the Centre for Multimedia-based Teaching and Learning (@LLZ) at the University of Halle.  You have to search for it yourself and often need to tailor the material to fit your needs, all while complying with the licencing agreements and terms of use.

A large proportion of the files available online continue to be used without complying with the rights and requirements of the authors. If you want to use the free educational resources for your own purposes, such as a course, it is crucial that the licencing and labelling of the material be correct. “We would like to make teachers and students aware of this issue. We provide information on various licences and give them practical ways to more safely use free educational resources,” says Atkins.

Training courses, online course and learning workshops organised by @LLZ give participants the opportunity to learn about what they need to consider when providing or using OER material. Instructors can acquire a “multimedia-based teaching” certificate after taking a block of training that includes didactic methods, tools and basic information about multimedia-based teaching and OER materials. “A themed week is planned for May or June where external speakers will talk about the topic of OER.”    

Currently there is another fundamental problem says Atkins. “Nearly everyone wants to use free educational resources, but few people want to put their own material in the public domain. This won’t pay off in the end.” There needs to be trailblazers and good examples that demonstrate that the use and application of OER is worth it. Such people do exist in Halle. For many years Professor Christian Tietje has been broadcasting his law lectures live online. And sports educator Dr Andreas Günther has uploaded hundreds of short teaching videos to the Internet under a free licencing agreement. @LLZ advises and supports anyone interested in doing something similar.

Information about upcoming courses at @LLZ: www.llz.uni-halle.de/schulungen

Contact: Kevin Atkins
Centre for Multimedia-based Teaching and Learning (@LLZ)
Phone: 0345 5528682
Send an e-mail

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