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OHSU OCW Opens

The Open High School of Utah today announced the public opening of its OpenCourseWare collection of 9th grade curriculum materials. 10th grade materials will come to OHSU OCW during the summer of 2011, with 11th and 12th grade curriculum materials coming in the summer of 2012.

The OHSU OCW collection is unique because a large portion of the materials shared in OHSU OCW are pre-existing OER, created by other institutions and aggregated by OHSU for use in supporting student learning. As opposed to most OCW collections, which are comprised almost entirely of materials created by the institution sharing the materials, the OHSU breaks ground by extensively reusing pre-existing OER within its formal curriculum and, consequently, it’s OCW.

As indicated at the bottom of each page, original materials created by OHSU are licensed CC BY. Interestingly, some pre-existing OER aggregated in the OHSU OCW collection use other open licenses that are not remixable from a license compatibility standpoint. These are attributed individually in compliance with their licenses and so that potential reusers can check licensing terms for themselves. (May I just repeat again what a total and complete pain in the neck the SA clause is for downstream users? I shake my head sadly when I think about how much more sharing we could accomplish if we weren’t dealing with tracking individual attributions and other compatibility issues caused by the SA clause.)

The Open High School of Utah uses Moodle as the core technology for coordinating teaching and learning activities, augmented with a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools and social media, including Aviary, Voicethread, Twitter, Glogster, Flickr, and Google Docs. Because one of the OHSU goals is to see the Open High School model adopted, adapted, and improved around the country and around the world, the OHSU uses these tools that are free or very inexpensive, and also makes its OCW available as downloadable Moodle packages. It’s slightly more complicated than “just add water,” but worlds easier than starting a school from scratch. Perhaps you’ll consider opening the “Open High School of (insert your state’s name here).” Having been through the charter and other processes once now, I’d be more than happy to pass along lessons learned if you’re interested.

One day I hope to attend an “Open High School Conference” with representatives from OHSs in every state of the union and several countries around the world.

Congratulations to the OHSU for this release and the successful opening of their second academic year, now serving 9th and 10th grades.

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