Regional Conference Emphasizes Free Resources and Learning Opportunities

March 5, 2013
A recent, regional Educause conference on teaching and learning focused on free resources for faculty, mobile technologies, and digital library resources. Given the questions that faculty often bring to us in ETS around online courses and sample course materials, two such resources seemed especially valuable for faculty and staff on our campus.

NextGenU and OERCommons are websites that Berkeley faculty may find helpful. Both sites offer a wealth of free material; in the case of NextGenU, free courses (and content) on a variety of health-related topics, and in the case of OERCommons a host of free resources including full, online courses, modules, syllabi, quizzes, lecture materials, games, and more. Let's take a more detailed look at each of these tools.

NextGenU offers free, for-credit, health-related courses that are designed and created by experts and quality-assured by professional organizations such as the University of British Columbia and the World Health Organization (just to name two). Courses utilize computer-based learning resources as well as local and web-based peer-to-peer reviews and mentoring to enhance their pedagogical models. Courses are free for students and lifelong learners. And experts in the field may also participate in the NextGenU chat rooms or even use resources from NextGenU courses in their classes. Currently NextGenU offers courses in Emergency Medicine and Environmental Health, with many more to come.

OERCommons is another great resource for faculty, GSIs, and students alike. The site has a wealth of resources that you can find easily by doing a keyword, subject, grade level, or media type search. All of the materials are free and many of them allow you to use them in whatever context you prefer and even change them to suit your needs. There are so many free resources here it would be impossible to describe them all, but you can search for yourself. Here are just a couple of examples (among thousands):