Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Share Good Stuff wtih Creative Commons and Free Online Resources

As my friend and colleague, Tom Caswell, Director of Instructional Design at Western Governors University, is found of saying, "Teaching is sharing."

As educators/teachers/instructors/facilitators of learning, we are all about sharing information, sharing skills, sharing experiences and sharing workload to help our colleagues and our students succeed. And, although almost every educator I know is eager to share ideas, strategies, and even curricula, lessons and assessment tools, much of this rich collection of resources never makes it into the hands of other educators.

The more educators we have contributing to the global collection of resources, the richer the collection becomes. So, why not make it a practice to share everything you create for your courses?

Here's a simple, 3-step process to make your work accessible to others:
  1. Create your lessons, activities, assessments and so forth in an electronic format. Who doesn't, in this day and age, you might ask? Well, some items may not be easy to put into a Word doc. Maybe you could make a very short, non-edited, video of a demonstration. Or, record an explanation of a PowerPoint slide show.
  2. Add a Creative Commons license to your work. This allows others to use your work, without asking you for permission, directly. You can control the level of permissions by choosing from several different types of Creative Commons licenses. The most broad license says to the world "I created this work, and anyone, anywhere is free to use it in its entirety, or in part, for any purpose they choose. Just give me credit for my work."
  3. Post your work online in an easily found (read searchable) location. Where? A blog, wiki, or  website. Some easy-to-use (and ad-free for free, for educators!) examples are wikispaces, blogger and Google Drive (click on the orange "create" button to begin in Google Drive). Non-geeks will find these resources intuitive and there are multitudes of online resources to answer most questions you might have about how to make them fancy. As you can see from this blog, I have stuck to the non-techie, "old-fashioned" style of blog!
Have fun, and thanks for sharing!
PS Send me the links to your "good stuff" and I'll post them on this blog to share with others.

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