Enhance your teaching with Open Educational Resources… And earn badges, too!

Open SUNY is currently offering a course titled “Locating, Creating, Licensing, and Utilizing OERs”—Open Educational Resources. In short, OERs are free digital materials which you can use or adapt for classroom use. SUNY states that the goals of the course include “defining OERs, demonstrating how to create and interact with them, and exploring how to include them in the teaching and learning processes. The course materials have been designed and chosen with practicality, simplicity, and applicability in mind.” You can read a full description and enroll in the course here:


Or you can watch their course trailer video below 🙂

They have already opened enrollment for the course, and it’s very easy to join. You can even log into the course using a Facebook account, for example. Just go to this URL to enroll:


I have been participating in the course since its launch, and although I’m familiar with much of the content taught in the course, I’ve found it to be enjoyable and interesting. I’ve become acquainted with a handful of tools and referatories which will be useful in my own teaching. The activities are practical, low-pressure, and interactive in the sense that you share your creations with other students in the course. For example, one of my activities was to make a freewritten word cloud reflecting concepts in open educational resources. The idea was to see how many aspects of the material introducing OERs had sunk in, I suppose :). Here is my word cloud:

My word cloud about Open Educational Resources

Here are some other features of the course:

  • It is completely free.
  • It is asynchronous, meaning that there are no set lecture times or work times.
  • There are no set deadlines, meaning that you can work on and complete the courseat your own pace.

Although you will not receive traditional college course credit for completing the course, you will receive digital “badges” from SUNY proving that you completed the coursework and gained the skills and knowledge taught by the course. The badges are managed by the Mozilla Open Badges framework. (Mozilla is the non-profit organization that develops and maintains the free open-source Firefox web-browser.) These badges are very much on the cutting edge as credentials; I’ve attended several technology-in-education conferences in the past year, and there’s absolutely massive buzz about them.

For example, I earned a badge when I completed the course orientation, and this is what the badge looks like from my point of view:
My badge for completing the course orientation

Since then, I’ve earned two more badges for completing the first two modules of the course.

If you would like to learn more about earning badges as professional credentials, you can read Mozilla’s explanation here.

I invite you to consider participating in this course about Open Educational Resources. Given the fact that it’s free and self-paced, there’s essentially zero barrier to entry, and I believe the skills and knowledge taught by the course will have ready application in your teaching.

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8 thoughts on “Enhance your teaching with Open Educational Resources… And earn badges, too!

    • Thanks for catching that! It’s very odd– I noticed the link had disappeared earlier in the draft stage, and I re-added it yesterday. Yet it somehow disappeared once more. I imagine one of my editing apps must have a bug in it, since I’ve edited it in my web browser, on my Android phone, and on my iPad.

  1. Thanks for the tip about this really interesting-sounding course. The topic excites me, as I’m always interested in open access materials. I’ve already enrolled and am exploring their content.

    I first heard about badges as credentials at a gaming conference, where feelings were mixed — either “this is gamification of something that has no business being a game which makes it a gimmick” or “this is a great way to update credentials for a new generation of scholars and learners”. I’m not sure where I stand in that debate yet, myself.

    • I think they’re a great idea! The equestrian is whether employers will take them seriously.

      (… Yeah, I’ll keep that autocorrect. Why not.)

      But they’re portable, verifiable, and able to be centralized and curated by the earner. They’re not locked up in a registrar’s office somewhere or unverifiable like many résumé line items. I think it can be a wonderful system if it’s sufficiently embraced, and I don’t mind being part of the early adopter wave. 🙂

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