SoftChalk to Sponsor Open Educational Resources (OER) Webinar Series

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SoftChalk will co-sponsor a series of four webinars on OER beginning this month on July 19.

SoftChalk and the College Open Textbooks Collaborative (COT) announced today that COT Collaborative member SoftChalk will co-sponsor a series of four webinars on Open Educational Resources (OER) in July, August, September and October 2011. Additional co-sponsors include Connexions, IMS Global and MERLOT.

The first of these webinars, “Defining OER: The WHAT and the WHY,” will be delivered on Tuesday, July 19, at 2 pm EDT. Mitchell Levy, CEO of Happy About, will interview Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons.

Cathy notes, "The OER movement has the potential to yield much wider access to and participation in global education, but only if a critical mass of educational institutions and communities embrace openness. Our licenses, especially our Attribution license, are free and simple ways to implement the philosophy of OER using a commonly accepted standard for ‘open’."

In this webinar, Cathy will discuss what Open Educational Resources are and why the OER movement is growing so rapidly, including addressing why educators might want to use or create OER materials and how OER materials can be licensed. In addition, several OER collections will be reviewed including College Open Textbooks, Connexions, MERLOT and SoftChalk CONNECT.

“Finding and Using OER: The WHERE and the WHEN,” the second webinar, is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17, at 3 pm EDT with COT members MERLOT, ISKME, IMS Global and SoftChalk among the organizations presenting. Cathy Swift from MERLOT will provide an overview of the issues associated with identifying relevant standards and finding quality OERs, followed by Rob Abel from IMS Global, who will address the licensing and standards questions.

Lisa McLaughlin of ISKME will demonstrate how OER Commons can be used to find appropriate, quality content. Similar demos will be provided for using Connexions, MERLOT and SoftChalk CONNECT. In addition, Malissa Attebery, an online instructional designer at Lone Star College-Online in Texas, will show OERs in action as she demonstrates her transformation of a comprehensive WWII history eText by Henry (Jud) Sage, Professor at Northern Virginia Community College, into an engaging, interactive learning experience.

The third webinar, “Creating OER: The WHO and the HOW,” will be on Wednesday, September 21, at 3 pm EDT. Rob Abel from IMS Global will address questions related to how OERs are being developed, who is and who should be developing OERs, content interoperability and standards. This webinar will also include a demonstration of various authoring tools for creating OER content and a discussion of different models for developing OER materials, including models developed by the math department at the College of the Redwoods. Finally, Jacque Cain from Tacoma Community College will show how she repurposed Sherlock Holmes stories to create a full online course in Remedial English as part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

The fourth webinar, “Funding OER: Sustainability,” will be in October. Still in the planning stages, this webinar will be about finding funding sources and will complete the series.

Participants can register for these free webinars by going to

About College Open Textbooks Collaborative

The Community College Open Textbooks Collaborative is funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This collection of 17 educational nonprofit and for-profit organizations is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks at more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges.

About SoftChalk, LLC

SoftChalk, LLC is an award-winning provider of e-learning software for worldwide education and business institutions. Specializing in the development of intuitive, easy-to-use tools, SoftChalk products allow instructors to create powerful and professional-looking content for e-learning and smart classrooms in K-12, higher education and corporate training.

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Marie Highby

Brittany Mullins
SoftChalk LLC
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