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Thursday, November 3


Putting Knowledge to Work with HigherEd.org: A New Educational Portal and Search Engine Using OER in Competency-Based Education
Knowledge to Work (K2W) is a U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT grant project at Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) in Virginia. K2W has developed seven regionally-accredited direct assessment competency-based education degree and certificate programs using personalized learning plans, prior learning assessments, and free and low-cost learning resources (including OER) tied to competencies. In addition to implementing these programs at LFCC, K2W has made this work freely available online at the domain HigherEd.org for learners anywhere to benefit from. This presentation will provide an overview and demonstration of HigherEd.org and its uses for adult learners.

HigherEd.org is an educational portal and search engine designed to assist adult learners with achieving their career goals. HigherEd.org allows learners to create their own personalized learning plans based on their career goals, review competency frameworks associated with the credential(s) they will need in order to achieve those goals, and locate a variety of free and low-cost learning materials (including OER) to help them obtain those competencies. Users are also provided access to career pathway information, assessments, badges, nationally-recognized industry certifications, and tools for locating apprenticeship and employment opportunities. HigherEd.org also connects users with LinkedIn to market the competencies and credentials they have obtained to potential employers.

avatar for Kiri Dali

Kiri Dali

Digital Librarian, Knowledge to Work, Lord Fairfax Community College
I am the Digital Librarian for a round 4 TAACCCT grant project called Knowledge to Work (K2W) at Lord Fairfax Community College in Virginia (USA). K2W is a direct-assessment competency-based education program using OER as learning materials wherever possible, and free or low-cost... Read More →

Thursday November 3, 2016 10:45am - 11:10am


A little bird told me... Using social media for promotion and community building
A tweet might just be 140 characters but it can mobilize a political revolution. A Facebook post written in Cambridge, Massachusetts can inspire a retired farmer in Auckland, New Zealand to study linear algebra. More people are beginning to look to the internet to continue their education and expand their subject expertise. In a time where people are choosing to gather news and current affairs from sources on social media, integrating these channels into your organization's communications strategy has never been more important.

In this session, we will share our experience in growing a following, promoting MIT OpenCourseWare, and fostering an online community of individuals who become essential ambassadors for disseminating our work. We will provide practical tips for why and how you can promote your organization, lessons learned in experimenting with campaigns, and touch upon quantitative and qualitative reporting.

Attendees will leave this session with a better understanding of how social media efforts can make a difference in an organization's reach and impact as well as serve as a powerful tool in communicating the value of your open educational resource.

avatar for Yvonne Ng

Yvonne Ng

External Outreach and Annual Giving Manager, MIT OpenCourseWare
Marketing, social media, fundraising, and stewardship.

Cheryl Siegel

Publication Manager, MIT OpenCourseWare

Thursday November 3, 2016 11:10am - 11:35am


Investigating Foreign Language Open Education in the US
Much of the open education movement to date has centered on the creation and use of open educational resources (OER) in areas such as science and technology, which are on the leading edge and currently the more prominent users of OER. Connexions, Merlot, and OER Commons show two to three times as many entries for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics categories as compared to the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

While other contexts (e.g., Europe) have created and made use of OER in foreign language (FL) curricula since the early 2000s, OER only recently began to affect FL education in the United States (US). A small-scale study that surveyed university-level FL program directors in the US indicated that one of the primary reasons for interest in OER as the growing number of blended and fully online courses offered in a variety of languages (Thoms & Thoms, 2014). However, discussions of how OER can be best utilized in both traditional face-to-face, blended, and fully online FL courses have not sufficiently addressed the issue of effectively mixing open and closed materials, tools, and practices (Blyth, 2013). Furthermore, little is known about how FL educators teaching in K-12 contexts in the US perceive and make use of OER in their courses.

As the open education movement continues to grow, there is a critical need for research that explores (a) how FL educators perceive and make use of OER in their classrooms, and (b) the nature of and reasons for the rise in open educational practices (OEP). In response to the paucity of research related to OER and OEP in FL education in the US, this presentation reports on the results of the first wide-scale survey study sponsored in part by the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) housed at UT-Austin. Data was collected in summer 2015 from 1,673 FL educators collectively teaching over 20 FLs and working at all levels of the US educational system-K-12, community colleges, and 4-year colleges/universities. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the response data focus on (a) how aware FL educators are of OER and open education in general, (b) reasons why FL educators adopt OER/OEP, (c) perceived benefits and challenges of creating and incorporating OER in FL courses, and (d) how OER has changed FL educators' teaching. The presentation will report on this data and will provide suggestions for raising awareness among FL educators about OER and OEP. In addition, future avenues of research in this area will be delineated.


Joshua Thoms

Utah State University

Thursday November 3, 2016 11:35am - 12:00pm


Essential learning model (ELM ) transformation in Pratice
The presentation description is currently being reviewed for permission to release prior to its announcement on the campus. We had hoped to have that done before the deadline tonight, unfortunately it will probably take until early next week. We hope this is okay, but if not we understand.


Peter Smith

University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

Thursday November 3, 2016 1:15pm - 1:40pm


Excelsior's Open OWL: engaging students and improving basic writing skills
Excelsior's multimedia Online Writing Lab (OWL), developed in partnership with eight community colleges across the nation, applies best practices in instructional design and education technology to provide students with a truly immersive user experience. Two pilot studies found the OWL to be effective in improving student writing and increasing course grades. Designed so that it can be easily incorporated into any traditional, online or blended courses at no cost, the OWL offers an alternative to developmental writing courses.

We recently launched a rebuilt version of the OWL. I'm going to open the hood of the new OWL and tell the story of the platform's creation. Highlights:

  • Cost of the original OWL platform? $250,000... Cost of the new one? $0.
  • Owlets - a feature that lets you customize the OWL for your courses.
  • The free HTML5 authoring tool we used to create interactive activities.

avatar for Mark D. Oppenneer

Mark D. Oppenneer

Director of Web Systems, Excelsior College

Thursday November 3, 2016 1:40pm - 2:05pm