Easy flips using OERs

This blog post originally appeared on the Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Brighton’s website in November 2015.


Open Educational Resources (OERs) cover a range of teaching materials that have been placed on the web for anyone to use. OERs can play a useful role in flipping the classroom, a pedagogic approach where some content is taken out of face-to-face time and given to students to look at before the session. One of the challenges of doing a flip is finding the time to turn the presentation you used to give in the face-to-face session into something that students can access at home, foe example a Powerpoint with a voice-over. A much easier and faster way of giving students access to content is through using an OER.

It may be that not all of your topics will have a suitable OER available – if you’re doing something really specialized or really want to get a particular point across, it may be that you have to rely on your own materials. However, there are lots of circumstances where OERs can fit the bill. Here are some ideas.

“The introduction”
There are many courses across the country which include very similar ‘introductions to’ … you can probably think of some in your discipline, and some are available online. For example this Introduction to Bookkeeping written by the Open University or this on signs and semiology by the University of Portsmouth and stored in HUMBox.

Practical skills
Another key way that OERs can be used is to get students to become familiar with a practical skill before they practice it in a face-to-face situation. Online videos may have an advantage over face-to-face teaching in that they can be repeatedly watched and may have close up detail that would be lost in class, for example threading up a sewing machine.

A virtual visiting lecturer
You might not be able to afford the fees for a celebrity speaker to come and talk to your students, but there are plenty of resources such as this talk by Brian Cox that you might find useful. And it may well be that the important conferences in your discipline have recent keynote presentations online – although they maybe quite long.

Discussion topics
Some OERs can be starting points for discussions in class, and there are many current affairs resources to choose from. TED talks are brief (less than 20 minutes) by high profile speakers and will probably have already attracted comments from the wider public which your students can also engage with. For example this TED talk on Alzheimer’s.

The image on this post is from Pixabay which is a great source of copyright free images.

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