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August 2014
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Connexions Conference 2011 (Part 3)

Part 3

Connexions has expanded its partnerships to several organizations. I will highlight some of them. Representatives from the following organizations demonstrated, presented and/or discussed their organizations: VOER (The Vietnam Foundation for OER: http://voer.edu.vn ), Upfront Systems in South Africa (there was an excellent demo of http://mobile.cnx.org and a demo showing MathMl and text on cell phones using just a mobile browser, i.e., not needing an iPhone or an Android), WebAssign (http://webassign.net – an excellent homework and grading system for the sciences and mathematics which I personally admire and use with Collaborative Statistics), Shutterfly in South Africa (all content in the K-12 curriculum is available via mobile cell phones, again, not needing a smart phone), Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy (resource for network for the Jesuit 53 secondary schools in US and more than 400 secondary schools worldwide which encourages the development, use, and sharing of educational resources ), UniqU (a spin-off from Connexions that helps folks use Connexions http://theuniqu.com ), Words & Numbers (a publisher that has developed open textbooks for Connextions and other organizations), AKADEMOS (provides an information and commerce platform that serves a single site for gathering all learning materials used in educational environments http://akademos.com). Bridgeport Education (the parent company of Ashford University and University of the Rockies), Full Marks (a South African nonprofit assessment bank that is completely open source; people can add your own questions, score sheets, etc.), and NOTA (OER for K-12).

Dr. Joel Thierstein, Executive Director - Connexions

I will finish up this blog with a few comments from Joel Thierstein. Joel proudly proclaimed that OER is transitioning from a “movement” to “mainstream” as we transition into K-12 market. He announced that in the last two months, Connexions received a grant from a consortium of grantors. It is going to produce publisher quality content initially targeted at community colleges. Phase I is 18 months long and will result in the production of 5 textbooks (Anatomy &Physiology, Sociology, Biology, Biology for non-majors, and Physics). Phase II will also be 18 months long and will produce 15 additional books). The major expense is expected to be clearing the copyright of images. Once that happens, the images will be available freely to all. The goal of funders to increase quality of education. The money folks used to spend on textbooks will now be available to spend on new and innovative ways to do content. “If we succeed in this, it will change education forever,” according to Joel.

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