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Toolbox 2.0: Web-based OER for Connectivism Learning
Paper presented at ELSE 2014 _ International Conference on eLearning and Software for Education, 24-25 April 2014, Bucharest
Using Open Educational Resources (OER) provides opportunities for collaboration both in the classroom and beyond. Many universities have embraced video conferencing tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts for common learning activities with students in classrooms across the street, across the country, or across the globe. This paper describes an ongoing collaboration between two universities, one in the United States and the other in Romania, where students use synchronous and asynchronous communication tools to complete a combined work product during the course of a semester. The project requires students to create, curate and publish digital media using established and emerging open educational and social media tools such as VoiceThread, ThingLink, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Each year, students work in groups with their international partners to create digital media artifacts that share their findings related to a current technology trend. Students chronicle their work, share resources, and collaborate using the ViCaDiS (Virtual Campus for Digital Students) platform and select the means of digital communication that they deem most appropriate for the various tasks involved. In the process, they also experience global cultures while communicating with international partners, and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while using the Web as a research tool. This paper presents an analysis of student and faculty experiences over a five-year period using a variety of open educational tools as resources for creating an international Connectivist, learning environment. The analysis is based on authors’ records, initial and final surveys of student experiences each year, and their feedback. The paper concludes with recommendations on using these tools as OER in an international collaborative learning environment using Connectivist principles, thus creating a Connectivist OER (xOER).