An OER course

A digital skills course using OER

This is a short 5 week online course aimed at adult learners who want to improve their understanding of the digital skills necessary to engage with an increasingly digital world.
Excellent digital skills framework resource at the OU Library which students could use as self-assessment, but this skills course is aiming at adults who may not be quite at level 1 yet.We were only supposed to use the following OER banks, which meant not being able to use which, when I happened upon it following a link or two, turned out to be the very easiest to search:

The main conclusion I came to however, was that one needed to have a very clear idea of audience and structure before starting out. My choice was an adult online audience and it turned out that one resource was head and tails above all the others for this particular student group — OpenLearn.

A brief review of issues follows:

  • Ariadne: often broken links
  • Jorum : searching not easy, previews don’t work
  • MIT: too advanced for purpose
  • CNX: too difficult to use and many non-English texts without a way to filter these out.
  • Merlot: ratings useful, description of learning material also useful and search good, but out of date links.
  • OpenLearn: despite my criticisms in my earlier blog about this OER, I found this to provide excellent resources and ones that I could pick and chose from easily.
I would always look for existing suitable resources before deciding to create my own so I have no hesitation in using OER. However, ease of searching for and finding the right ones quickly would inevitably mean that I would end up on relying on those OER that were the easiest and quickest to use.
The course is not complete by any means but here is the beginning:
Week number
(G=good, M=medium, B=bad)
Week 1
Using a computer or mobile smartphone and getting connected
Software – Browsers and apps


Both of these were bad in terms of suitability.
Week 2
Creating and caring for your digital identity
Creating a profile
Creating accounts
Establish your icon
OpenLearn (Online Safety)


OpenLearn Identity online


Week 3
Searching and evaluating
Using search engines
Search terms
Evaluating results
Finding like-minded people


Week 4
Organising your digital things, offline and online
File storage
Cloud storage


Week 5
Communicating and collaborating
Web 2.0
Collaborative applications
From OpenLearn




One thought on “An OER course”

  1. Hi Karen, thanks for taking the time to reply. I do feel that I must stress that this blog has nothing to do with the Maine Dept of Ed. I’m not sure where this idea came from. This blog was created as a response to an activity undertaken on the MA ODE at the Open University.

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