Editing Wikipedia : a great way to experience OER and add more knowledge to the world

October 3, 2016

Students use Wikipedia all the time. Librarians do, too. It’s a great starting place if you know nothing or very little about something — anything, just about. We’d like to know how many professors here at UConn are using this great public good as a way for students to add better information to the world as part of their class assignments. Instead of just retrieving information, students can become powerful communicators adding better knowledge and improving the quality for all people.

The L.A. Times reported on 10/3/2016 in their article College students take to Wikipedia to rewrite the wrongs of Internet science thatWikipedia Editing Guides

So far this year, 240 college science classrooms in the U.S. and Canada have improved the content of more than 2,500 articles and created 247 new ones, he said. All told, these Web pages have been viewed more than 81 million times. The foundation’s goal is to double these numbers by the end of 2016, which it has dubbed the Year of Science.

Eryk Savaggio of the Wiki Education Foundation says

“Wikipedia has great coverage of military history, for example, but it doesn’t have great coverage of women’s health. Those are the types of gaps where students can go in — they have academic resources, they have textbooks, they have access to their library, to medical journals, academic journals — and contribute something that makes a difference in these more difficult-to-write aspects on Wikipedia.”

Wikipedia has lots of online tutorials and help for editing as well as a set of standards that aims to keep the information unbiased and understandable to the public. It’s a way for students to develop their voices and take learning and pay it forward.

Let us know if you are doing anything like this with your students. And if you are interested in pursuing this track, we have help for you here at the library. Just email open@uconn.edu

On the creation of Open CourseWare (OCW) at MIT in 2000

September 30, 2016

MIT’s Open CourseWare (OCW) is visited by over 1 million people every month. In this interview with Shigeru Miyagawa, chair of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee from 2012-2013, he describes the development of an open education mindset at MIT as this became a part of the institutional mission.

Shigeru Miyagawa, MITIn what ways do you think Open Education (OE) has impacted Institutional practice, reputation and culture of MIT? 

OCW was definitely a huge paradigm shift. From looking at one’s teaching materials as solely for the use of our students inside the walls of our Institution to saying here is part of our education that we want to share with the rest of the world. Anyone is free to use it. This is a complete shift in how we view what we’ve produced as teaching material. This really started the OE movement. From people trying to sort of keep it inside or trying to charge for it in order to make money to saying that it is good, in fact it is part of our mission to share what we have produced with the rest of the world.

Read the entire interview at Open Education Consortium’s collection of interviews with administrators and faculty on the impact that open education projects and practice has had on their institutions.

Impact of Openness on Institutions


Connecticut Higher Ed Task Force on OER Interim Report

September 21, 2016

Martha Bedard
Martha Bedard, Vice Provost of Libraries, University of Connecticut

Martha Bedard, our Vice Provost of Libraries, co-chaired this task force in support of legislation brought by Representatives Gregg Haddad and Mae Flexer. Connecticut is on the move toward affordable higher education.

Interim Report from the Statewide Connecticut Higher Education Special Task Force

Special Act No. 15-18 : An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open Source Textbooks in Higher Education

This Act charges the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut to each establish an open sources textbook pilot to (1) assess the use of high-quality digital opensource textbooks, and (2) promote the use of and access to open-source textbooks within their respective constituent units. The programming for such pilot programs, shall include, but not be limited to, seminars and workshops on awareness and implementation of open-source textbooks and open educational resources for faculty and staff of the institutions of higher education under the jurisdiction of such constituent units and workshops on supportive open educational resources policy and administration for academic leaders of such institutions.

This report covers the state of Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources from a national and state perspective, and describes the actions taken to date to raise the awareness of the appointed legislative task force, the faculty and key staff at institutions of higher education in Connecticut, and steps taken to analyze potential cost savings and identify barriers to adoption.

CT textbook cost for undergraduates

Read the Report: Task Force to Study Best Practices with Regard to Open Educational Resources in Connecticut Higher Ed