Opinion – Where are the good open courses? #OER #OCW


The most popular post recently has been the notification that with user submitted sites we’ve “identified” over 930 courses created in Moodle that are available for download.  They include content Spanish, German, Catalan and other languages, cover a host of subjects from primary to post-secondary school and are made available by a diverse mix of organizations and individuals and businesses.

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One anonymous commenter asks and important question though:

where are the GOOD open courses?

If I’ve learned anything about Moodle, it’s that course quality is in the eye of the beholder.  Or rather to put it more accurately: quality learning outcomes are in the hands of the teacher.

I’m a firm believer that the availability of open course ware, already contextualized in Moodle will be a boon for the LMS.  A collection of open content, like a public library, becomes a destination for browsing, learning, and informal learning for teachers and students.  Except that the content can be revised, remixed and mashed up to create new learning objects.  Identifying these courses, regardless of quality, is the first important step in creating the easiest entry point for teachers on the fence about using Moodle.

Certainly the quality of all courses is not based solely on the quality of the content (as made available through a Moodle backup file).  Good courses are the aggregate of student experience, learning outcomes, facilitation, support, etc.

That being said, if the first step is identifying open courses, the second step will be to index and rate them in terms of quality.  What exists now is more of a rummage sale of open course ware.  What we need is a well organized library.