Education/News/May 2018/Creating and reusing OERs for a science journalism course at Wikiversity

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Creating and reusing OERs for a Wikiversity science journalism course from Brazil[edit]

Author: Daniel Dieb


Summary: This article brings up the case of the creation and usage of Open Educational Resources for a science journalism course at Wikiversity.

There are a handful of definitions[1] for Open Education Resource (OER) that roughly differ in three characteristics: nature and source of the resource and level of openness. UNESCO, OER Commons and The Cape Town Open Education Declaration are some of the institutions or movements that work for OER's growth, but have different understanding of its definition. For more information about it, check the table available at Creative Commons' page. However, in order to enlighten this text's reflection about creating and reusing OERs at Wikiversity, we point as a reasonable definition for OER as "digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research".

One of the definitions, coined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says that the OERs are "learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licenses". It is a wide definition and can include from texts and videos to templates and modules. The course "Introduction to Science Journalism", supported by FAPESP, Neuromat and Wikimedia in Brazil, has been creating and reusing Open Education Resources as part of its development.

The main theme, science journalism, is separated in six modules: Methodology and Philosophy of Science, History of Science and Technology, Science's Ethic, Central Themes of Contemporary Science, Means of Organization and Funding of Research Structures in Brazil and the World, and Medias, Languages and Practice of Science Journalism. Each module is also divided in classes. The course's development began searching for a model that could be adjusted for our purposes, an activity that has been done by BMNeuroMat. Web Science course's informational architecture fitted just fine into our project's idea. This was the first time we were reusing a OER, even though we were not aware of it.

The concept of OER, how it was developed, its goals and what institutions support the movement were fundamental steps for understanding -- or at least trying to -- OER's role and possible contributions for online education, specifically for Wikiversity. Web Science's structure was evoked and it is the cornerstone of "Introduction to Science Journalism". But there were much more to be done. We had no content prepared, no idea of where could OERs be found besides Wikimedia Commons and a scarce knowledge of the six module's themes.

We started by creating texts, images (graphics, infographics and interactive maps) and videos. Creating them wasn't a process that came up with OERs out of nothing. They were based on information that already existed, but not available as actually OERs because their license was not compatible. Most of the images used in the course were created by Ederporto, such as an interactive map of brazilian's state foundations for research and development with how much they invest in R&D. Also, videos were part of our content creation: we developed a video that talks about how much is invested in R&D by ten countries. It was recorded using a technique called "overhead shooting". As the name suggests, a camera is positioned over someone's head while only the arms appears, usually drawing something related to the subject that is also being narrated.

As examples of reusing OER, we can list some of them: the templates for course's landing page, where there are information about the authors and a presentation letter; the necessary codes for putting a quiz at Wikiversity and images to illustrate classes, as the ones that appear on the "History of Science and Technology" module, most of them found at Commons. We consider important to share practices related to OER in order encourage more people to freely share educational content.


Tags: OER, Wikiversity, Science Journalism, Open Educational Resources

  1. Template:Citar web