Open Educational Resources

Thomas Edison State U to Expand OER Use with Outside Help

A public New Jersey university that caters to adults who want to finish their degrees is expanding its use of open educational resources (OER) with the help of an education technology company that provides services related to that. Thomas Edison State University has signed an agreement with Ed Map to help develop the OER offerings for 35 courses, following an earlier, successful pilot. The school will be using Ed Map's Curate service.

Under the Curate service, academic librarians and other content experts work with the institution to understand the learning objectives for a given course; develop content recommendations that match those objectives and fit into other criteria, such as cost or knowledge level; deliver annotated bibliographies of copyright-cleared recommendations; and optionally can deliver the content to students on its Openvue digital content platform.

The initial pilot identified curriculum to use in several general education courses. That "e-book pilot" turned out to be a "great success with students," said Matthew Cooper, associate provost of the university's Center for Learning and Technology, in a press release.

As he explained, the university's subject matter experts, "who are integral to our course development efforts," may already be familiar with "established textbooks and materials," but could be "missing opportunities to leverage new and innovative course resources because of the sheer volume of what is out there."

The use of the Curate service, Cooper said, allowed the institution "to offer innovative, high-quality course materials while simultaneously driving down costs." Calling the discovery process "fast," he added that the company's curators "provided recommendations of OER items at the appropriate level for the course that we could easily aggregate and use. We view Curate as an extension of our team."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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