Teachers around the world are benefiting from open educational resources (OER) developed by students in two courses taught by Torrey Trust, assistant professor in the department of teacher education and curriculum studies in the College of Education.
Open educational resources are in the public domain or made available through an open license, says Trust. “OERs are especially important for the educators who do not have access to a diverse local network of colleagues or to quality professional development opportunities that will help them grow their practice.”
Students in Trust’s 500-level course “Online Tools for Learning and Instruction” developed a database of 64 digital tools for enhancing education, which has been viewed by more than 103,000 people located in 208 countries since its launch in 2016.
“These tools provide support and guidance for teachers who are interested in improving, changing or initiating their use of technology for teaching and learning,” says Trust, adding that students taking the course this semester will be adding 16 more pages to the site.
In her other class, EDUC 612, “Educational Web Design,” students develop open online courses to support teachers’ use of technology for instructional practices or professional growth. Last year, her students developed an open online course titled “PLNs for Educators: From Novice to Expert” to help educators enrich, expand and evaluate their personal learning networks (PLNs). The course was facilitated by Trust’s graduate advisee, Jeromie Whalen, as part of an independent study. A total of 80 educators signed up to participate in the course and 15 completed the entire course to earn an International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) certificate of participation.
Another open online course developed by the class is “Designing Digital Media for Teaching and Learning,” which was run in 2016 by two graduate students for 75 members of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. The previous year, the same course was facilitated for 480 K-12 teachers, administrators, graduate students and higher education faculty located in numerous countries, including the United States, Mexico, Thailand, Australia, Ghana, Malta, Canada and Romania.
“One participant shared that the ‘Designing Digital Media’ course was ‘one of the absolute best technology-focused professional development courses I have taken in 15 years of teaching,’” says Trust.
Trust and her students received the 2016 ISTE Online Learning Network Award and 2017 AECT Division of Distance Learning Crystal Award for the design and facilitation of the course.