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Preview: EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online

EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online

This weblog focuses on locating, evaluating, discussing, and providing guidelines to instructional resources for faculty and students in higher education. The emphasis is on free, shared, HE resources. Related topics and news (about commercial resources,

Last Build Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 00:08:14 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2009 Joseph Hart


Wed, 11 Nov 2009 00:07:41 GMT

This Creative Commons site provides a starting point to search for open educational resources. Search results are given a brief description and identified by Curator, Education Level, Language, License, and Subject Tags. ___JH


DiscoverEd is an experimental project from ccLearn which attempts to provide scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web. Metadata, including the license and subject information available, are exposed in the result set. We are particularly interested in open educational resources (OER) and are collaborating with other OER projects to improve search and discovery capabilities for OER, using DiscoverEd and other available tools. Contact us if you are interested in this work.

DiscoverEd is a prototype intended to explore how structured data may be used to enhance the search experience; there are a number of known issues.

Read our white paper that describes the rationale for and design of DiscoverEd, as well as our thoughts regarding possible future enhancements that could make the tool, or other search tools like it, even more compelling.

DiscoverEd is also being discussed among participants of the OER search and discovery community. You can also find slides on Slideshare about DiscoverEd. If you are aware of any related resources, please post them to the OpenEd community site, and we will cross-post them to this FAQ as we can."

Openness and the Future of Higher Education

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 19:18:32 GMT

This issue of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) contains a number worthwhile articles about the significance of open resources for academics. (Thanks to Russell Poulin of WCET for this link.) ___JH
"We are pleased to present this very topical issue of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) on openness. Notions of open scholarship, open access publication, open educational resources, tuition-free institutions, and open source software continue to gain popular, research, and commercial interest. Thus, I was very pleased to receive an email 18 months ago from David Wiley offering to guest edit a special issue of IRRODL on openness.

He and his colleague John Hilton III coordinated a call for proposals and had over 25 responses. From these, 12 were selected for full paper development, and 8 survived peer review and appear as the contents of this issue. Brigette and I would like to thank David and John for their considerable efforts in very actively managing the editorial work involved. I am sure you will join me in congratulating David and John as well as the authors for contributing to this very important and timely special issue. Finally, links are provided to the archived recordings of 5 sessions presented by Athabasca University as part of our Open Access Week celebrations. Enjoy!
Terry Anderson, Editor, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Vint Cerf on the History and Future of the Internet

Tue, 20 Oct 2009 16:06:55 GMT

As I begin to wind down this weblog it seems appropriate to reference this video by Vint Cerf on the history and future of the Net. I can remember participating in the early Usenet and with radio packet switching systems and with early newsgroups. The technology has certainly made things easier for current computing! ____JH

"During a July 2009 lecture at Singularity University, Vint Cerf ('the father of the internet' and Google Chief Internet Evangelist) gives a comprehensive overview of the state of the internet today, and what issues are arising as it continues to evolve. Includes discussions about IPv6, the need for cloud computing standards, the growing Asian prominence online, and the interplanetary internet."

Shutting Down

Tue, 20 Oct 2009 15:43:50 GMT

The EduResources Weblog will shut down in December (at the same time that Radio Userland the server support site shuts down). I will continue to operate my more general weblog at The Open Learner. I'm pleased that there are now many fine guideline sites to open academic resources for students and teachers (see the list of Recommended Weblogs) which did not exist when the EduResources Weblog was launched in 2002. Many thanks to all the readers who consulted EduResources. ____JH


Wed, 29 Jul 2009 23:31:59 GMT

I've added the OpenEd community site to my navigator links for Recommended Websites about OER. The Creative Commons review of the site commented, "There are so many great educational materials out there—some already openly licensed and a great deal more in the public domain—and the problem is that a lot of people still don’t know about them or how to use them. Similarly, the open education movement has produced some really exciting projects and programs in recent years, but there is no global landing space for these inspiring movers and shakers to really connect as a coherent community. Open Ed, the new Open Education Community site, is the result of brainstorming with other initiatives in the movement on how to provide such a space. We designed the site for open education community members, but also for teachers, learners, and those who just want to get involved. We were able to build it thanks to the strong support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation." View the video on the front page for an orientation to the many resources and services available at OpenEd.

Blackboard Loses on Appeal

Tue, 28 Jul 2009 16:10:11 GMT

Inside Higher Ed reports on Blackboard's latest loss, which is good news for universities and colleges who use open source software because we can be sure that despite their disclaimers, Blackboard would certainly move against open source courseware if they succeed against Desire2Learn and other private companies. Blackboard's loss is also an affirmation of common sense since anyone with long-time experience in course management software knew that Blackboard's patent claims were simply assertions, not valid original contributions to courseware delivery methods. ____JH


"Both companies appealed the parts of the case they'd lost to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has nationwide jurisdiction over U.S. patent claims. Its highly technical decision upheld the lower court's conclusion that Blackboard's claims 1-35 were invalid. But the three-judge panel rejected the lower court's finding that Blackboard's patented learning system had originated the approach of giving a single user with a single log-in multiple roles, such as being a teacher in one course and a student in another."

"The appeals panel embraced Desire2Learn's argument that such technology existed in 'prior art,' in this case previously existing course management systems such as Serf and CourseInfo 1.5. The appeals court essentially ruled that the lower court judge had framed Blackboard's claim incorrectly for the jury, said Bruce T. Wieder, a lawyer for the Washington firm of Dow Lohnes who was not involved in the case. Having done so, the Federal Circuit court "could have said, 'This is how you should have interpreted it, you go look at it again,' " Wieder said. "But instead, the court said, 'Since we've seen what was argued, we now can say that the district court wouldn't have come to any conclusion,' and declared those claims invalid."

Translating the World's Information with Google Translator

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 18:02:49 GMT

This is an informative article from the Google Blog about using the Google Translator Toolkit. Of course translation services are vital components to facilitate the world-wide sharing of educational resources. ____JH
At Google, we consider translation a key part of making information universally accessible to everyone around the world. While we think Google Translate, our automatic translation system, is pretty neat, sometimes machine translation could use a human touch. Yesterday, we launched Google Translator Toolkit, a powerful but easy-to-use editor that enables translators to bring that human touch to machine translation.

For example, if an Arabic-speaking reader wants to translate a Wikipedia™ article into Arabic, she loads the article into Translator Toolkit, corrects the automatic translation, and clicks publish. By using Translator Toolkit's bag of tools — translation search, bilingual dictionaries, and ratings, she translates and publishes the article faster and better into Arabic. The Translator Toolkit is integrated with Wikipedia, making it easy to publish translated articles. Best of all, our automatic translation system "learns" from her corrections, creating a virtuous cycle that can help translate content into 47 languages, or over 98% of the world's Internet population.

Besides Wikipedia, we've also integrated with Knol, and we support common document types including Word and HTML. For translation professionals, we provide advanced features such as terminology and translation memory management.

For more information, check out our introductory video below. And if you're a professional translator or just a linguaphile, try Google Translator Toolkit for easier and faster translations. Be sure and let us know what you think.

  [The Official Google Blog]

You Tube Edu

Fri, 27 Mar 2009 05:45:38 GMT

This site address at You Tube provides links to video courses and lectures from large universities. It's a useful one-stop starting point.  __JH

Post-Crash--Fully Back on Line

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 05:05:29 GMT

My computer is now fully restored and, I hope, the backup systems are also fully established. I plan to use the remainder of 2009 to slowly transfer most of my activity to The Open Learner web site since I am devoting more time to general educational resources rather than higher education resources. However, I will continue to post items of interest here in the EduResources Weblog this year that I hope will be of value to teachers and students. ____JH


Thu, 12 Mar 2009 20:21:09 GMT

I experienced a major crash of my computer and my backup system recently. Consequently, I've not been able to post messages for several days. Also, I've not been able to fully recover past messages. Hope to fully recover the system today or tomorrow.


Annenberg Broadband Media Resources

Sun, 02 Sep 2007 15:29:50 GMT

The Annenberg Foundation has provided instructional media to schools, colleges, and to public television for many years. Some of the Annenberg Media productions are now freely available online. Registration is required. The Teacher Resources are organized by discipline and age group and are searchable with key words. Some examples include "A World of Art," "The Constitution,"  "Human Geography," "In Search of the Novel," and "Seasons of Life." Although the materials are directed at teachers for use as supplements to classes, they will also be useful for students and adult learners.____JH


"Annenberg Media is a unit of The Annenberg Foundation. Our mission is to advance excellent teaching in all disciplines throughout American K-12 schools. Former names of Annenberg Media are: Annenberg/CPB, The Annenberg/CPB Project, and The Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project.

We pursue this mission by funding and broadly distributing multimedia resources for teachers to help them improve their own teaching practice and understanding of their subject. Annenberg Media makes use of telecommunications technologies—the Internet, including broadband video streaming, and satellite television broadcast—as well as hard copy media to disseminate these multimedia resources, ensuring that they reach as many teachers as possible."



Thu, 30 Aug 2007 18:46:40 GMT

This new web tool makes it easy for instructors to share text, audio, and video with students. Registration is required, but free. Use the FAQ and About sections to orient to the resources. Also look at Ezra Katz's sample course LectureShare 101 (once registered). ____JH

(Thanks to Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day for this reference.)


  • Give students access to course materials without the burden of maintaining your own webpage or the hassle of complex web-based solutions
  • Post audio and video content easily
  • Make class announcements that your students will actually read—via e-mail, RSS (coming soon), or SMS
  • Effortlessly make your course available to anyone if you choose

Open Education Search Project

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:34:12 GMT

The O'Reilly Radar blog reports that ccLearn, Google, and the Hewlett Foundation are working together to build a search portal focused on open educational resources. Everyone interested in the OER field will certainly be following this new OE Search project closely. ____JH

"ccLearn is working with the Hewlett Foundation and Google to build an 'open education web-scale search,' part of a larger effort to offer web users simple, overarching mechanisms for discovering OERs. This tool aims to direct search engine traffic to the incredible diversity of OER repositories and communities. While such a tool would not replace the more specialized and sophisticated search sites and portals that the community already uses, we believe it would expose a much wider public to our community’s materials. This is also an opportunity to encourage OER adoption and specify legal and technical conditions for making educational resources openly available. We see this project as an important step for achieving large-scale access to and use of open educational resources. "


Open Education Search []

David Wiley's Open Course on Open Education

Tue, 28 Aug 2007 16:15:03 GMT

Here's the link the to wiki syllabus for David Wiley's Fall 2007 course about Open Education. There's still time to sign up for this online course. "The goals of the course are (1) to give you a firm grounding in the current state of the field of open education, including related topics like copyright, licensing, and sustainability, (2) to help you locate open education in the context of mainstream instructional technologies like learning objects, and (3) to get you thinking, writing, and dialoguing creatively and critically about current practices and possible alternative practices in open education." Those who don't want to participate in the course will still find value in the online readings and the links to OER sites. ____JH

Graphical/Clustering Searches for LO/OER Information

Sun, 26 Aug 2007 16:15:48 GMT

Every now and then I like to do graphical searches related to Learning Objects and Open Educational Resources because I find that these searches sometimes yield different frameworks for understanding the information and sites that emerge than I get from my regular reading of rss feeds and blog entries. Recently I tried the new WikiMindMap and was pleased to see that the entry for "Learning Objects" is very good; the entry in Wikipedia for "Open Educational Resources" is a bit sparse, but not bad for starters. If you try "OER" alone as the search term you'll get not only Open Educational Resources but Oregon Electric Railway, Odaku Electric Railway, Offense Efficiency Rating, and Oxygen Efficiency Ratio.

Getting outside Wikipedia. I used my favorite graphical search engine, Kartoo. The Kartoo search for "Open Educational Searches" put the fairly new OER Commons right at the center of the display which I thought was accurate and timely.

A colleague, Dr. Russ Poulin from WCET, recently recommended the clustering search engine Clusty, so I tried it for both "Open Educational Resources" and "Learning Objects." Ten times as many results were returned for the second search term than for the first, indicating (I suppose) that Learning Objects have been discussed longer in the professional literature than Open Educational Resources. I liked the way Clusty ordered and outlined the results.

Finally, I did a search in Google for "Graphical Search Engines" and discovered a kind of meta search engine tool called, appropriately, the Graphical Search Engine Comparison Tool from SEO Tools. This handy tool permits the user to select two from among five popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Vista, and AlltheWeb) and then enter search terms for the two different search engines (e.g., Google and Yahoo) to compare their results. The resulting display shows which links are at the top, middle, and bottom of one search vs the other and what percentage of the sites overlap in the searches (in this example, 46% for "Learning Objects," 36% for "Open Educational Resources"). Using this tool will convince searchers how important it is to NOT rely on a single search engine. Highly recommended. ____JH


OER Commons: Open Educational Resources

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 01:53:30 GMT

Since my own EduResources Portal closed in July 2007, I've been looking for other useful portal entry points to recommend to students and instructors who are searching for educational resources. I highly recommend the OER Commons as a valuable first stop. The Commons is extremely broad in scope, but so well organized that new users can orient to its resources quickly.

The OER  materials can be browsed by categories or collections; resources are also searchable with key words. Additionally, the entry page displays the OER Top Ten and the Top 25 Tags for a quick scan of what other users are viewing. Visitors who register can set up their own OER Portfolio and also sign up to receive an E-News newsletter.

The "OER Matters" section provides links to News Stories, Articles and Reports, Conferences and Workshops, Discussion Forums, Organizations and Associations, Tools and Technology, and Blogs and Wikis.  The Commons was created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) which is supported by the Hewlett Foundation.  OER professionals will want to mark the OER Commons in their bookmarks and visit the site regularly (an rss feed is also available). _____JH


"OER Commons is a teaching and learning network, from K-12 lesson plans to college courseware, from algebra to zoology, open to everyone to use and add to."

"Learn more about the worldwide movement to make teaching and learning materials free and accessible for use and re-use by everyone."

ZaidLearn--a New Blog about Open Learning Resources

Mon, 20 Aug 2007 03:04:46 GMT

This promising new weblog by Zaid Ali Alsagoff  is devoted to open learning resources around the world; Zaid is located in Malaysia. His blog is especially valuable for its extensive listing of links to bloggers who write about eLearning and its multiple links to Learning Tools, eLearning sites, OpenCourseWare sites, University Podcasts, and Learning Repositories. Zaid is currently at work on a book about effective learning and teaching that is scheduled for release in June 2008. ____ JH

MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 16:09:39 GMT

Should be interesting to see what emerges from this new funding direction by the MacArthur Foundation. ____JH


"Awards will be made in the two categories of Innovation and Knowledge-Networking.  Innovation Awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. Knowledge-Networking Awards ($30,000 base award, to a total of $75,000 if budget warrants) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating, or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. Entries to the Competition are due October 15, 2007.

Details and application requirements can be found at  If you have comments or questions about the Competition that you would like to share publicly, we would love to hear from you via this Spotlight Blog."

ACE Resources for Lifelong Learning Professionals

Fri, 10 Aug 2007 16:20:15 GMT

The American Council for Education maintains a useful set of pages for academics who work with adult learners. Included at the ACE site is information about Military Evaluation Programs, Government Relations, and Public Policy. (Of course not very many years ago, most students involved in distance education were included in the "adult learner" category, but today distance education is appealing to more and more younger students.)  ___JH


"For more than 60 years, ACE has helped adults gain access to a postsecondary education. We invite you to find out more about our programs and services."

The Open Library Project

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:58:26 GMT

This interesting transcript of an e-mail interview  features Scott McLemee, a regular contributor to Inside Higher Ed, with a programmer, Aaron Swartz, who works on The Open Library Project. The short interview effectively captures the scope and vision of the project. ____JH


Here's a sample:

"Q: How is Open Library funded? Are you working on it full time? And how many people are involved in the project?

A: It’s currently being funded by the Internet Archive, with the help of some state and federal library grants. We have some volunteers, but also about 5 people working full-time (a couple programmers, a designer, and a product manager)."

Tom Carey Answers Questions about MERLOT

Mon, 06 Aug 2007 15:51:58 GMT

In this interview in eLearn Magazine Tom Carey answers questions about MERLOT. In addition to his professorship at the University of Waterloo, Prof. Carey also acts as chief learning officer for MERLOT. Among other topics, Carey explains how MERLOT relates to other open education repositories and gateways. ____JH (Via the Development Gateway dgAlert.)


"Instructors in higher education get e-learning support from two distinct sources: their own institutions, through colleagues and faculty teaching centers, and their disciplines, through subject area experts and scholarly associations. Tom Carey, professor of management sciences at the University of Waterloo and chief learning officer of MERLOT, explains how the MERLOT consortium is finding the sweet spot where those two processes come together."

Jon Udell Reviews Beautiful Code, Expert Minds

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 16:56:46 GMT

I only dabble in software programming occasionally (usually in Python), but I do pay attention to what programmers are doing because I believe the skill of programming is one of the most important achievements of the 20th and 21st centuries. Without programmers our handsome hardware computers would merely be pieces of furniture. This item is from Jon Udell's blog and reports on a collection of essays compiled by Greg Wilson and Andy Oram, Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think: "The idea is to get a bunch of well-known and not-yet-well-known programmers to select medium-sized pieces of code (100-200 lines) that they think are particularly elegant, and spend 2500 words or so explaining why." I believe Udell's book comments on sharing expertise, through Internet video and screencasting,  are important beyond the field of programming. The influence of expert minds on one another and the potential influence of expert minds on student minds in formation are highly valuable features of our information age. ____JH [Via Bruce Landon's Weblog for Students] _________ "The 600-page tome arrived recently, and as I’ve been reading it I’m struck once again by the theme of narrating the work. Of the chapters I’ve read so far, three are especially vivid examples of that: Karl Fogel’s exegesis of the stream-oriented interface used in Subversion to convey changes across the network, Alberto Savoia’s meditation on the process of software testing, and Lincoln Stein’s sketches (”code stories”) that he writes for himself as he develops a new bioinformatics module. Although this is a book by programmers and for programmers, the method of narrating the work process is, in principle, much more widely applicable. In practice, it’s something that’s especially easy and natural for programmers to do. It’s easy because a programmer’s work product — in intermediate and final form — happens to be lines of text that can be printed in a book or published online. It’s natural because programmers have been embedded for longer than most other professionals in a work process that’s fundamentally enabled by electronic publishing. We’ve been sharing code, and conversations about code, online for decades. Most work processes don’t lend themselves to the sort of direct capture and literal representation that you see in Beautiful Code. Not yet, anyway. I think that can and will change, though, and I think two emerging forms of media will be powerful agents of change. One of those forms is Internet video, which enables the capture and sharing of many kinds of physical-world expertise. The other is screencasting, which does the same for virtual-world expertise. Narration of work in these forms won’t be able to be printed in a book. But it will be just as valuable as the narration in Beautiful Code, and for the same reasons. Access to expert minds is just inherently valuable. We’re entering an era in which we’ll be able to access many more — and many different kinds of — expert minds. I’m looking forward to it. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the access I have now to the 38 minds that Greg and Andy have collected for this book."[...]


Tue, 31 Jul 2007 16:09:21 GMT

Science students and instructors will want to put this web address in their bookmarks because WWS provides a federated search of science sites around the world. By combining WWS with Scirus--plus a discipline-specific search and a general search in Google--a searcher will have made a serious first-pass at finding information. ____JH (Via the Development Gateway's E-Learning distribution.)


" is a global science gateway—accelerating scientific discovery and progress through a multilateral partnership to enable federated searching of national and international scientific databases. Subsequent versions of will offer access to additional sources as well as enhanced features"

List of Learning Object Repositories

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 16:17:17 GMT

This is a useful list of the major learning object repositories, divided into general and discipline-specific listings. The web pages are hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee at the Center for International Education. ____JH

LeMill Web Community

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 02:04:49 GMT

The LeMill Web Community site is available for sharing online learning resources. The site is viewable in nine languages; to orient to what is offered take the Tour and consult the FAQ. Thanks to the Development Gateway for information about this site. ___JH


"LeMill is a web community for finding, authoring and sharing learning resources. First at all, you can find learning resources. You can use the resources you find in your own teaching or learning. You can also add your own learning content to LeMill. You may edit your content and combine larger chunks of learning resources from individual media pieces. If you wish you may also join some of the groups producing or editing learning resources. In LeMill the content is always easily found where and whenever you need them."