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This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.

July 2016
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OER Webinar Series Beginning on July 19

Why is the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement growing so rapidly? Where can you find quality OERs? What kind of standards are relevant for OER and how can they assure quality? Who is developing OERs and what tools are available? Is funding available for creating OERs so that they can be sustainable?

Are you interested in finding out more about open educational resources?

College Open Textbooks and SoftChalk, along with Connexions, IMS Global and MERLOT, are co-sponsoring a four-part webinar OER series that will answer these questions and more.

The first of these webinars, “Defining OER: The WHAT and the WHY,” will be delivered on Tuesday, July 19, at 2 pm EDT. Mitchell Levy, CEO of Happy About, will interview Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons. Catherine Casserly

Cathy notes, “The OER movement has the potential to yield much wider access to and participation in global education, but only if a critical mass of educational institutions and communities embrace openness. Our licenses, especially our Attribution license, are free and simple ways to implement the philosophy of OER using a commonly accepted standard for ‘open’.”

Cathy will discuss what Open Educational Resources are and why the OER movement is growing so rapidly, including addressing why educators might want to use or create OER materials and how OER materials can be licensed. In addition, several OER collections will be reviewed including College Open Textbooks, Connexions, MERLOT and SoftChalk CONNECT.

“Finding and Using OER: The WHERE and the WHEN,” the second webinar, is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17, at 3 pm EDT with COT members MERLOT, ISKME, IMS Global and SoftChalk among the organizations presenting. Cathy Swift from MERLOT will provide an overview of the issues associated with identifying relevant standards and finding quality OERs, followed by Rob Abel from IMS Global, who will address the licensing and standards questions. Lisa McLaughlin of ISKME will demonstrate how OER Commons can be used to find appropriate, quality content. Similar demos will be provided for using Connexions, MERLOT and SoftChalk CONNECT. In addition, Malissa Attebery, an online instructional designer at Lone Star College-Online in Texas, will show OERs in action as she demonstrates her transformation of a comprehensive WWII history eText by Henry (Jud) Sage, Professor at Northern Virginia Community College, into an engaging, interactive learning experience.

The third webinar, “Creating OER: The WHO and the HOW,” will be on Wednesday, September 21, at 3 pm EDT. Rob Abel from IMS Global will address questions related to how OERs are being developed, who is and who should be developing OERs, content interoperability and standards. This webinar will also include a demonstration of various authoring tools for creating OER content and a discussion of different models for developing OER materials, including models developed by the math department at the College of the Redwoods. Finally, Jacque Cain from Tacoma Community College will show how she repurposed Sherlock Holmes stories to create a full online course in Remedial English as part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

The fourth webinar, “Funding OER: Sustainability,” will be in October. Still in the planning stages, this webinar will be about finding funding sources and will complete the series.

Participants can register for these free webinars by going to