Composing free and open online educational resources

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Type classification: this resource is a course.


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Free and open educational resources have become one of the most discussed topics in the field of education. Projects such as MIT Open courseware, Open Access, Wikipedia, Wikibooks and Wikimedia Commons have challenged traditional methods of delivering education resources and also the methods of creating them.

The free software movements idea of developing free, libre and open source software, as well as the Creative Commons search for alternatives to traditional copyright, have had an everlasting effect on the ways we think about education and educational resources.

The course readings and the assignments in this course will familiarize participants with the main concepts related to open education resources and to the historical and philosophical ideas behind them. The participants will also do their own projects where they will learn to create and participate in projects producing free and open educational resources.

Course / Class News

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The news of the course are posted to the course blog by the facilitators:

Teacher in primary school in northern Laos.

This course is targeted for teachers and teacher-students who do not have prior knowledge or skills related to free and open education resources.

Being a student or teacher-student, however, is not a requirement for participation. Motivation and interest on the topic are the basic requirements.

Language Policy

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Because the idea of this project is that the participants can help each other in their course work we need a single common language when working with the assignments (see below). This language is English. However, you can use other languages when you create your own educational resources in the project work for this course (more information about projects below).


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You may preliminary register / announce your interest to take part in the course starting in January. Please, add your name to the page:

The estimated workload for the participants is 4-6 hours of study work per week. Students are expected to spend this time to read, watch and listen online materials and to complete the assignments according to the schedule.


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During the course participants will become familiar with the idea of co-creation of learning resources. After the course participants will have the skills to find, create and share free and open education resources online. People will be familiar with the concepts of:

  • free and open culture
  • free, libre, open educational resources
  • commons based peer-production
  • educational resource design
  • online study project
  • media production

As part of the course assignment participants will be expected to create a free and open education resource. During the projects participants will learn to take digital images, to record audio and video and to use these media as educational resources.

Class Meetings

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The 1910 graduating class of Roseland Christian School.

This class meets mainly asynchronously online in the blogs of the participants and in a mailing list. The participants are recommended to hang-out in the #lemill IRC channel (Freenode) for synchronous chat (a web client is available).


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  • The course syllabus, with the weekly readings and assignments is available on this page.
  • Participants are expected to start a web blog for the course and provide the address for their course blog on the participants page.
  • The course assignments are submitted on the participant's blog.
  • Later in a course the participants are asked to work on some content of their assignments on LeMill or Wikiversity and report this in their blog.
  • Participants should read the assigned material and post answers or responses to their blogs based on each week's prompting question.
  • Participants should use their blog to demonstrate understanding and critical assessment of assigned readings, and include original thoughts and synthesis of other's ideas.
  • The assignment posts should be available in the participants blog every Friday.

Evaluation and Feedback

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At the end of the course the facilitators (Teemu and Hans) will provide PASS, FAIL or COMPLEMENTARY WORK REQUIRED statements for each participant. The participants are expected to evaluate and give constructive feedback to each other through comments on other blogs and synthesis of other's ideas on their own blog.


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A Logo for Open Educational Resources.

Week 1: Introduction

- Short history of free and open educational resources -

  • Open Educational Resources: What they are and why do they matter? by Ilkka Tuomi
    • Read from the beginning the first 10 pages, chapters "Introduction", "Future learning environments" and "The origins of the OER movement". You may skip the last sub-chapter "Openness in computer-based learning architectures".
    • Continue reading from page 25, the chapters "Open resources" and "Defining OER".

Example open education projects:


  • You should write three (3) blog posts
  • Create a short, two paragraphs, blog post introducing yourself. You may tell in it who and where you are, and why you want to take this course. You may also use audio or video to present yourself. If you want to stay anonymous it is fine, but please share us why you want to take the course.
  • Study the article by Ilkka Tuomi and write a commentary to his text in your own blog.
  • Study the open education projects online and write a commentary about them in your blog.
  • Your blog posts should demonstrate your understanding of the main ideas in the article.
  • Don't just summarize the article but try to present in your post some insights and original thoughts. - Web community for teachers.

Week 2: Introduction to LeMill and Wikiversity

- LeMill or Wikiversity in your own study project of creating open educational resource -

  • Introduction to LeMill
  • Introduction to Wikiversity
  • How LeMill can be used in this course?
  • How Wikiversity can be used in this course?


  • You should register with LeMill or Wikiversity, contribute something in the form of constructive feedback in discussion forums, editing, or new page creation, then write one (1) blog post about the experience
  • After registering with LeMill or Wikiversity, create a user profile page with information about yourself.
  • Try to locate a group or project where people are working on some learning resource or study project that you could assist with, and join the group or project by notifying the other editors of your interest.
  • As well as joining an existing project, start your own new content or wiki-page resource in LeMill or Wikiversity.
  • Document your steps, discoveries and ideas in your blog. How did you complete the assignments and how do you feel about LeMill and/or Wikiversity before and after your initial investigations.
  • Your blog post should show familiarity with LeMill and/or Wikiversity.

Links and resources

A replica of Isaac Newton's telescope of 1672.

Week 3: Philosophical Background

- Some threads of thoughts behind the open educational resource movement -

From Wikipedia:


  • You should write one (1) blog post
  • Study the articles about enlightenment, practice of science, library movement, free adult education, folk high school and free software movement.
  • Your blog post should discuss about all these themes.
  • Try to show similarities and differences in the ideas behind the themes.

- From free software to free content resources -

From Wikipedia:

From the Web:


  • You should write one (1) blog post
  • Study the article about history of copyright, watch the presentation and check out the article about global learning commons.
  • Your blog post should discuss about all these themes.
  • Try to elaborate why the copyright is as it is and why Lessig is claiming that we need "Free Culture". Try to also contextualize these ideas in your own work and country.

Week 5: Wikipedia and Wikimedia

- Free haven of free, libre and open content online -


  • You should write one (1) blog post
  • Study the articles about Wikipedia and get familiar with the Wikimedia projects.
  • Your blog post should discuss about all these themes.
  • Try to elaborate what kind of impact the free culture and Wikimedia movements will have on educational resources and future of education in general.

Week 6: Taking and Sharing Pictures

Photographers in New York City.

- A picture says a thousand words -

How to shoot better photos?

How to edit your digital photos?

  • Adobe Photoshop Express - web-based image editing software
  • Gimp - powerful free image editor for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Paint.NET - image editor for Windows
  • Picasa - photo management and editing software by Google
  • Seashore - free image editor for Mac

Web sites for sharing photos under open licenses:


  • You should write only one (1) blog post but do many other things, too
  • Study the materials / links.
  • Take a digital camera and shoot some photos in your home town. Choose one or two pictures that can be used in learning resources.
  • Do some basic editing for the photos that you have chosen (crop, correct exposure and white balance, add saturation, sharpen). You can use Photoshop Express or some other image editor (some suggestions above).
  • Join Flickr and upload the photos that you selected. Describe photos with tags, place them on a map and add a Creative Commons license.
  • Try to upload one photo to Wikimedia Commons or LeMill.
  • Search for your home town photos from Wikimedia Commons and Flickr. Did you find similar photos than yours? Were these under some open license?
  • Write a blog post where you summarize what you learned from the task. Add links to the photos that you have uploaded and found online.

Week 7: Sharing Audio

- And music can fill your heart with Love -

  • How to share your audios as educational resources online?
  • With this you need to look at installing audacity and LAME. (You won't need to install these two if you already have an audio recorder on your computer that produces MP3 files)
  • Once you have the software installed the fun begins; you can find a number of audacity tutorials on YouTube
  • After creating a few MP3 podcasts you can upload them to some of the podcasting services like;
  • read about podcasting
  • read about Vorbis Ogg, it is an important part of openness and sound files
  • read about the creative commons and their connection to audio. Consider using CC licensed music files in your OER.


  • You should write only one (1) blog post but do many other things, too
  • Study the materials
  • Install audacity and LAME (or your favorite audio recorder)
  • Create a podcast that provides a detailed (and creative) description of the view outside your home, take a photograph of this view.
  • Upload the photograph to flickr
  • Upload the audio to odeo or switchpod
  • Include the photo and podcast as links in this week's blog posting, so we can all appreciate the view from your home
  • Think about how RSS fits into podcasting; later in the day describe RSS to a friend over coffee (or a free beer ;)

Week 8: Sharing Videos

  • Websites to find video (Note - not all videos on these sites are usable in OER):


  • Find a video that you find useful from one or more of the sites listed above and embed the video in your blog. Embedding video is a simple way of displaying a video from one of the sites directly in your blog. When you find a video, look for the "embed" code and copy paste it to your blog.
  • Create your own 3-5 minute video and post it to and Youtube and then embed it on your blog
  • Post that same video to Dotsub and use that service to create subtitles for your video. Embed the new subtitled video on your blog
  • Many videos on the sites listed above do not offer copyrights for the videos they offer, or they do not give users the option to use open licensing like Creative Commons. Some of these sites do however! Write a post on your blog that points out the video sites that do contain openly licensed videos and suggest a process that you might go through to negotiate the open use of videos that you find that do not already have open license rights.

Week 9: Evaluation and Feedback

- Tell the others what do you think about their work -


  • You should write only one (1) blog post but do many other things, too
  • Visit each other's blogs and comment the posts in there.
  • Comment at least one blog post in each participant's blogs.
  • Write your own reflective thoughts about the course and the class. What did you learn?

Week 10: Presentations and Feedback

- How we can make it better next time -


  • You should write only one (1) blog post but write more to the Critique and feedback -page
  • Write also your own critique and feedback to the final blog post of the course / class.
  • Take part in the video-conference announced later in the facilitator's course/class blog


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See also

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