Late last month, I blogged about the Utah State Office of Education’s new initiative to support open textbooks, a type of open educational resource (OER) enabling learning materials to be made available online for free through open licenses.
This week, while attending the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Wave I grantees convening in Austin, Texas, I had the opportunity to learn about an open toolkit resource to aid in the development and scaling of blended learning programs.
The OER project, created by the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), with funding from the NGLC, is called the “Blended Learning Toolkit,” which seeks to provide higher education institutions and instructors with a guide for developing and managing blended and online learning programs.
Yet, while the Blended Learning Toolkit may have been developed by university experts for higher education, it also serves as a valuable resource for school districts and teachers interested in implementing blended and online learning programs in K-12 education.
Pointing out that there is no “one size fits all” process for developing a blended or online learning course, the OER project provides useful insights, examples and approaches to consider when establishing a program. The toolkit resources include:
- Guidelines – best practices, strategies, models and course design principles to assist in developing and maintaining a blended learning course.
- Course templates – an outline for the general structure of an online or blended course, including two OER courses examples, Algebra I and Composition, with course content packages for download.
- Research materials – information on organizations, journals and conferences focused on online and blended learning.
- Train-the-trainer materials – development courses and workshops for instructors, including a self-paced online training program.
- Assessment tools – evaluation and data collection protocols, including survey instruments on efficacy/evaluation and standards.
As a significant benefit of this OER project, all educators have access to the strategies and suggestions available in the Blended Learning Toolkit. Therefore, in helping educators to lay the foundation for their own online and blended learning programs, the OER toolkit can further serve as a means for providing all students with access and options to courses and curriculum needed to help them succeed.
To learn more about implementing open educational resources, visit the UCF/AASCU toolkit at: http://blended.online.ucf.edu/.
For more information on OER in K-12 education, consider joining iNACOL’s upcoming webinar, “Easy as 1, 2, 3: A Primer on Using Open Education Resources to Create Lessons, Activities, and Courses,” on Thursday, February 16, 2012. To register, visit: http://www.inacol.org/events/webinar/teacher_talk.php.