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Webinars on OER Publishing Platform: OERbit, eduCommons & NIXTY

One of the most frequently asked questions when starting an opencourseware project concerns what platform to use. There are a variety of platforms to choose from, depending on how you gather your content to open and what the format of that content is. If your plan is eventually to encourage all faculty members to open their courses, look for the option to open courses on your institution’s preexisting learning management system. These days, we are seeing more platforms for video, and we are also seeing more platforms that allow for social interaction around the course materials. As multiple projects evolve so as to incorporate more openness, interaction, and varied pedagogical practice, choosing the perfect platform for publishing your own open content becomes more and more difficult.

In order to make your decisions easier, this month the OpenCourseWare Consortium presents a series of webinars showcasing a range of content management systems. At the OCW Consortium Global Meeting in Cambridge this past May, a technology birds-of-a-feather meeting focused on content management systems and the ways we can present these different solutions to the opencourseware community. In light of those discussions, this month we will have a series of talks regarding the different platforms available. You can choose to participate in the talk on the platform that interests you, or you may choose to participate in all the talks and help us write up a comparison chart for the different platforms. If you have spent much time on our website, you will see that the CMS comparison there has become outdated and needs some fresh input. Hence this series of webinars and discussions to address the issue.

On August 19th, we will have Dave Malicke, Open Education Specialist from the Open.Michigan team give a presentation on OERbit. OERbit is a content management system based on Drupal and won the Technical Innovation Award in the first Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence. Dave will present the major functions of OERbit and compare it with some other major content management systems.

On August 24th, Brent Lambert will give a presentation on the new, improved version of eduCommons. Because many of our members use eduCommons, there were quite a few requests at the Global Meeting for the development of functions to accommodate new developments in opencourseware. We will hear about how eduCommons plans to better serve the community as it changes.

On August 30th, Glendon Moriarty will show us around the NIXTY platform, which is suitable for individuals interested in creating a page for their course materials without the challenge of creating a institutional site. NIXTY offers a variety of functions that incorporate social networking and customized learning management.

All of these webinars will be held at 10AM, Eastern (Daylight Savings) time (UTC/GMT -4 hours).  No registration is necessary. Consortium webinars are open to all who are interested in open education. You can join by simply clicking on this link.

After the platform-related webinars, we will start a discussion about updating the platform comparison chart. Earlier webinars have focused on Connexions, Moodle and video platforms such as videolectures.net and 9×9. We will bring all these webinars together to create a guideline for those who are interested in starting an opencourseware project. If you would like to help out, please email meena@ocwconsortium.org or post on the Technology Group forum at http://communities.ocwconsortium.org/technology.