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Sharing Your Content

blendedlearning's picture

Many of our recent posts have focused on how to find and curate resources available in OER repositories that have been created by other users and institutions. However, sometimes you already have the material you need -- either you’ve created born-digital or digital-ready content, or you have traditional content you want to turn into a blended resource. In either case, your content needs a host, particularly if you want that material to be shared with other potential users. This post will compare the options to create and host content from various repositories and suggest which sites are best suited to various types of material. While there are any number of ways to create and share your educational content online, we will tackle them a few at a time. This post will start by comparing three - Connexions, MERLOT, and Molecular Workbench.

Connexions – modules on Connexions are designed to be small pieces of content which can be used in either digital or print formats. The most basic way of creating content in Connexions is, essentially, by inserting a Word-type document which follows their content template. Of course, for more elaborate content you can use their on-site editing language, CNXML. As those parameters, particularly the emphasis on print-capability, would suggest, Connexions modules are intended to be mostly text, and still graphic elements. As a result, it isn’t well-suited to extremely interactive elements, or content which is focused on video elements. However, its print-friendliness makes Connexions modules good for material like work books or brief textbook chapters where students might want to be able to annotate or solve by hand.

MERLOT – the MERLOT Content Builder Tool is best used for creating static pages that link out, like portfolios or lesson plans which link out. As the module on creating effective content explains, these modules are essentially a homepage of a website. As a result, they’re best used for collecting and organizing content than for creating your own. One of the interesting uses which MERLOT suggests is creating a webpage to serve as an online poster or a list of links and references to accompany a presentation.

Concord Consortium’s Molecular Workbench – The Molecular Workbench is a unique product among content creators. You can either download the program to your computer, or work directly online using the new Next-generation Molecular Workbench, which adds to MW’s list of perks the ability to embed interactive models straight into your other websites and blogs. For example, you could embed your model into the content you created using Connexions or MERLOT. MW helps you create the actual simulations and interactive material you want based on their templates and suggestions for specific questions and examples. For more general concepts, they feature a number of pre-created activities you can use and embed. The downside of MW is, of course, that it is extremely topic-specific. If you’re looking for content in a non-science field, or even a science lesson that isn’t focused on the molecular level, MW isn’t the content creator for your task. Concord Consortium also has two other educational software pieces, Energy2D and Energy3D. However, these function more as exploration tools for students than as means for instructors to pre-create content.