Middle Ages for Educators website brings Princeton scholarship to an international audience

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rapid innovations in distance learning and the wide adoption of digital tools. For many educators, however, having the capability to teach virtually is not the same as having digital-ready content.

“When the pandemic began, there was the realization that everyone was going to be on Zoom, but you shouldn’t teach online the same way you teach in person,” said Merle Eisenberg, a recent postgraduate research associate in history, who graduated from Princeton with a Ph.D. in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland.

To make these lessons come alive for students, Eisenberg, together with medieval scholars Sara McDougall, an associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Laura Morreale, chair of the digital humanities and multimedia committee of the Medieval Academy of America, decided to develop materials that high school and college educators could use in a virtual setting.

The resources they created became so popular so quickly that they needed a permanent home for them and greater technical support to meet the demand. The result is a new website, Middle Ages for Educators (MAFE), featuring short video lectures by world-renowned experts, translated primary sources, workshops on how to use digital tools to study the medieval past, and curated links to websites with medieval content….”

LibreTexts – Free The Textbook

“The LibreTexts mission is to unite students, faculty and scholars in a cooperative effort to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER) to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society….”

What About Reuse? A Study on the Use of Open Educational Resources in Dutch Higher Education | Baas | Open Praxis

Abstract:  Extensive research has taken place over the years to examine the barriers of OER adoption, but little empirical studies has been undertaken to map the amount of OER reuse. The discussion around the actual use of OER, outside the context in which they were developed, remains ongoing. Previous studies have already shown that searching and evaluating resources are barriers for actual reuse. Hence, in this quantitative survey study we explored teachers’ practices with resources in Higher Education Institutes in the Netherlands. The survey had three runs, each in a different context, with a total of 439 respondents. The results show that resources that are hard or time-consuming to develop are most often reused from third parties without adaptations. Resources that need to be more context specific are often created by teachers themselves. To improve our understanding of reuse, follow-up studies must explore reuse with a more qualitative research design in order to explore how these hidden practices of dark reuse look like and how teachers and students benefit of it.


THE PLATFORM – The DocEnhance Website

“The DocEnhance Platform, a dynamic, adaptable and sustainable platform for online collaboration

A capacity-building tool to help you adjust and implement the resources locally.

– Training resources (courses, guidelines, reports, studies) developed by the project will be freely available to all
– Resources can be easily adapted to local needs and integrated into existing PhD programmes
– End users can contribute to the platform’s functionality
– A dynamic network between academic and non-academic partners for cooperation and information sharing …”

A Proposal to Establish the U.S. Digital Progress Administration | by Hal Plotkin | Digital Diplomacy | Nov, 2020 | Medium

“Here are a few thumbnail descriptions of just some of the other progress a Digital Progress Administration could bring within reach:

Shared continuously improving software to more affordably manage public contacts and interactions with government agencies. Why is it so hard, in 2020, to get information about social security issues, military service records, available federal benefits, IRS rules, etc.? Why can’t the state of California, for example, deliver unemployment benefits in a timely way to millions of qualified desperate individuals? Why is it taking California’s DMV months to process a simple change of ownership? Proprietary software vendors, who always seek to “lock in” government contracts in ways that lock out competitors, have no reason to make things simpler, less expensive, or more transparent. Unless we demand those features.
Shared continuously improving software that manages parking, traffic patterns and enforcement, and transportation services including so we can more reliably determine when the bus or train will arrive. Ditto with shared public software that can track and monitor climate change inputs and outputs.
Shared publicly-owned software that finally enables a real start on the dream of Smart Cities, which has foundered here in the U.S. but which is happening more quickly in many other countries, including in China, primarily because U.S. tech vendors insist on owning Smart City software solutions and charging royalties in perpetuity, rather than selling software solutions that other vendors can service and improve.
Software that citizens can use to register their employment status, availability for work, and the amounts they spend on items such as food and housing, to replace the inaccurate statistics on which so many wrongheaded government policies are based.
Software that provides candidates for public office a reliable way to present their platforms and pitches to voters without having to pay huge sums to intermediary for-profit media companies.
A public social network that enforces basic standards of accuracy, decency, and fairness as an alternative to social networks driven entirely by profit motives (think the social networking equivalent of how public broadcasting lives side-by-side with commercial broadcasting).
Something I have been calling for for years: more public investments in the creation and continuous improvement of open educational resources as substitutes for proprietary K-12 and college textbooks, which unnecessarily consume billions of dollars a year in public resources and student financial aid. The government can, today, right now, make free online textbooks available to students at a tiny fraction of their present cost, much of which the public already shoulders. Open educational resource textbook passages can be printed out as needed for just the cost of paper and ink….”

NRPF grant awarded to digitize ISU lectures | University Library | Iowa State University

“Iowa State University has received $15,000 in grant funding from the National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF) to digitize 991 audio recordings of University Lectures….

The ISU Special Collections and University Archives will utilize the NRPF funds to outsource the digitization of 259 reel-to-reel audiotapes and 732 audiocassettes to Preserve South. The ISU Library will match the funds received to outsource captioning to Rev.com, create metadata and provide open access to the digitized files. To aid in discoverability and accessibility, copies will be added to the Special Collections and University Archives YouTube channel. Items will be added into the ISU Library’s digital collections platform, as well as Aviary for full-text searching and syncing of captions….”

Open Research: Examples of good practice, and resources across disciplines

“Open research is best described as “an umbrella term used to refer to the concepts of openness, transparency, rigor, reproducibility, replicability, and accumulation of knowledge” (Crüwell et al., 2019, p. 3). Although a lot of open research practices have commonly been discussed under the term “open science”, open research applies to all disciplines. If the concept of open research is new to you, it might be difficult for you to determine how you can apply open research practices to your research. The aim of this document is to provide resources and examples of open research practices that are relevant to your discipline. The document lists case studies of open research per discipline, and resources per discipline (organised as: general, open methods, open data, open output and open education)….”

Evaluation of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning Open Educational Resources

Abstract:  Open Educational Resources (OER) “are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others” (UNESCO). In November 2019, UNESCO adopted a resolution on OER that had five objectives:

1. Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER;

2. Developing supportive policy;

3. Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER;

4. Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and

5. Facilitating international cooperation.

Overall this policy represents well the state of the art in OER and would serve to further the aims and objectives of open online education. Having said that, the document suffers from numerous cases of ambiguous terminology, some of it in places where serious misunderstandings could arise. The purpose of this article is to review this resolution, highlighting areas of ambiguity or where further discussion is needed in the OER community.