Week 8 – Activity 8: An OER course

Activity 8: An OER course

Timing: 8 hours


Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week.

  • Devise a broad outline of the topics to be covered every week. Don’t deliberate too much on this; it should be a coherent set of topics but you don’t actually have to deliver it.
  • Now see how much of your desired content could be accommodated by using OER repositories. Search the following repositories and make a quick evaluation for each week of your course of the type of content that is available.
  • Create a table similar to the one below for your evaluation. In the final column judge whether the resources are good, medium or bad in terms of suiting your needs.
Week Topic Resources Suitability (G/M/B)

Alternatively, you can input your evaluation into the form below.


Target: High school teachers learning basic digital skills. With the aim of them passing on this knowledge to students.


Week Topic Resources Suitability (G/M/B)
1 MS Office:

Basic overview of MS Office tools applicable to teachers: Word and PowerPoint.

How to do basic Word formatting and PDF export:



Useful for an overview of content taught during the week. However far to general and non-detailed to provide quality learning on it’s own.

For teachers: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=75593&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Medium:

Full course, which is arranged in a section-by-section layout allowing for easy navigation. No worksheets or activities. Based on MS Office 2000.

Word:https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=551520&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Good:

Extensive overview of many word functions laid out in a categorized manner, allowing for the selection of specific parts of the course.

Introduction Word course on business letter composition: https://learn.saylor.org/course/view.php?id=57 Medium:

Introduction courses to creating a business letter. Students could learn multiple functions of word through this process. however, it could take longer than 6 weeks so segments will need to be chosen.

Overview of the basics of Powerpoint:https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=82659&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Good

Broad overview of the features. Useful for introduction. Includes a look into speaker notes.

2 Online searching:

Using keywords; doing research.

Keyword choice: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=774698&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Good:

Video providing a basic overview of how to search using Google. Focusing on keyword choice.

Doing research: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294121&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Bad (for this purpose):

For younger learners it is beneficial. Child-like layout, teaching concepts that adults could learn in a more succinct manner.

More on searching skills: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294127&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Bad (for this purpose):

For younger learners it is beneficial. It also includes explanations around what is the WWW, which could contextualize the information in a clearer manner. Child-like layout, teaching concepts that adults could learn in a more succinct manner.

3 Using blogging for learning:

Learning the basics and how it can enhance cross-disciplinary learning.

Integrating tech to enhance liberal learning: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=875469&hitlist=keywords%3Dblogging&fromUnified=true Medium:

Journal article, which would be good for students to read, but given the course length is not so much applicable.

Blog basics: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=305419&hitlist=keywords%3Dblogging&fromUnified=true Bad:

An advertising like blog post, encouraging people towards monetization. Not applicable.

4 Avoiding Plagiarism:

What is plagiarism and learning to cite.

Citation: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=296406&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Will require some modification, but can be used as a tool to provide more details on specifics of citation.

Introduction: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=1020772&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Can be used as this week’s introduction. Provides an overview of the key areas of citation.

Citation basics: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=399075&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Could be used after the above. Also a video, but more comprehensive.

Plagiarism: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294136&hitlist=keywords%3Dplagerism&fromUnified=true Good:

A video and ‘cheat sheet’ combined to provide useful tips and things to look out for when citing, as to avoid plagiarism.

5 Research Skills (authenticity of materials) Evaluating resources: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=78565&hitlist=keywords%3Devaluating%2520resources&fromUnified=true Good:

Multiple videos looking at various aspects of research skills, from web pages, to blogs, to explaining what search engines won’t find.


I was particularly impressed with the variety of resources provided by Merlot. The user evaluation and details provided add a level of authenticity or trust into the results. I would imagine going forward that one of the better ways to deal with OER quality and search is through user tagging and rating. OpenStax resources were even more impressive in their quality and thus showing the potential of OER. Unfortunately due to the specifics I chose in my course outline I couldn’t find any of their materials to incorporate at this stage.



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