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New OER Exchange Opens with 680,000 Free Learning Objects

Educational technology company Pearson has launched its OpenClass Exchange for instructors. Out of the gate, the new open education resource (OER) catalog will include links to 680,000 instructional and learning items. Pearson also said it has updated its learning environment, OpenClass. The announcements came during ISTE 2013, the annual conference for the International Society for Technology in Education.

OpenClass Exchange lets instructors search and get to digital content culled from e-textbooks, course resources, videos, and other educational content that's free and open. They can also create and add content to the exchange. For example, the catalog will include pointers to videos from YouTube EDU, Khan Academy, and TED-Ed as well as materials from Washington State's Open Course Library, and other sources.

Pearson promised to continue adding content to the Exchange with updates taking place on an ongoing basis.

"The introduction of the OpenClass Exchange provides educators with the 21st century resources, assets, and best practices they need to keep students engaged, coupled with the social connectivity tools students have come to expect," said Matthew Leavy, president and CEO of Pearson eCollege and Pearson Higher Education Learning Technologies.

Pearson has also added new social features to OpenClass that will help users exploit content from the exchange. For example, the online service now has an upgraded function that lets users perform preset and keyword searches, refine search results with "accordion navigation," and select from featured items through a carousel banner or a "popular content" listing.

The update to OpenClass also lets students and teachers create a network of peers using a "follow" function. Users will be able to set up groupings based on interests, projects, and other designations. The service has also added a notification feature to notify users about OpenClass activity pertinent to them, such as an assignment being returned or a response is posted to a thread they're part of.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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