OER Newsletter – December 2012

December already? Kind of took us by surprise. Here, then, in the ‘Better Late Than Later’ Department, is the latest list of whatever we feel like talking about…open education resources, tools, news items, and good old-fashioned fun. Some of it may be useful; the Schmich-Luhrmann confabulation is probably more so. And we’re okay with that.

As always, if you’ve got tools, news, OER, or…whatever, let us know. We’ll keep the channels open.


Tools

Power Searching with Google Quick Reference
Clean. Concise. A two-page pdf in glorious b&w with all search essentials. TL;DR? Here’s a glossier, leaner version in four colors (one of them being gray).
[Link]

Google Free Zone
In the connecting-the-world department, Google is beginning to bring (some) free mobile internet services to users in the developing world. Google’s page is linked below, or read the Reuter’s piece. credit: Angelyn P.
[Link]

Professor Direct (StraighterLine)
Our friends over at StraighterLine have a pretty good idea: help professors charge students for taking online courses. What’s more, SL will pay commissions for bringing students on board. Yeah, we know…Saylor.org is supposed to be all about the free education. And we are. But professors have to eat, right? In all seriousness, this is one method that allows profs to supplement their incomes, which helps enable them to spread their smarts in all kinds of ways…free and otherwise.
[Link]

Open License

Books Should Be Free (Public Domain)
I can’t say it better than they do: “Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBooks”. This site draws primarily from Projec Gutenberg (text) and LibriVox (audio), and is every-so-handily arranged by genres, language, and popularity. Books are available for iOS, Android, Kindle, and in .mp3. The site even has a mobile view. We’re pretty impressed. credit: Wynn
[Link]

Computer Science Unplugged (CC BY-NC-ND)
In their words, “Computer Science…without a Computer!” Huh? It’s not entirely true, because they do have this wicked YouTube page and an actual website (see Link). There is a free, downloadable book, activities, and more, all geared toward introducing the engaging concepts of computer science to people of all ages and skillsets. credit: SR
[Link]

i-am-cc.org
Flickr has been a great repository for CC-licensed photos, and (lucky for us!) there’s a new player: Instagram (maybe you’ve heard of it). This site is helping to encourage users to license their photos for re-use, and even provides an API to help you find them.
[Link]

Brill Open
Just shy of their 330th birthday, Brill Publishing has 273 journals and knocks out 600 books a year, largely in the Humanities. In a team-up with Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN), Brill is making 6 of those journals and 80 books openly available online — many of them under Creative Commons licensing. On our list? Sign Here! Handwriting in the Age of New Media. credit: David T.
[Link]

Open Access

Open Access to Scientific Research Can Save Lives (Chronicle)
Okay. We already dropped this one in a Monday Morning Digest…excuuuuuse us. It warrants a re-post (if not a riposte) here…anecdotal though it be, this is some decent evidence in favor of giving Open Access a permanent seat at the table.
[Link]

Amherst College Introduces Open-Access Press for the Liberal Arts (Chronicle)
Another repost from the Monday Morning Digest. So it goes. Certain of our staff wish that certain a certain rival of the college named here would step up to the Open Access plate (don’t make us write a strongly-worded letter to the alumni association).
[Link]

Serious. Fun.

JAM with Chrome
From the blog post: this is “an interactive web application that enables friends in different locations to play music together in the Chrome browser on their computers.” 19 instruments, up to 3 other players. There’s a learning curve, but it might just be worth it.
[Link]

Reverse Dictionary (OneLook)
This might just save your sanity when your know-it-all friend itsn’t around to help, and with a little know-how it scales to some pretty complex problems. From the site: “OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept.” credit: ES
[Link]

Slow Motion Science Videos (Sam Hankin)
We’ve linked to similar stuff before, but one can never really have enough of this, can one? credit: ES
[Link]

News

“Dumb and Dumber: Study Says Humans Are Slowly Losing Their Smarts” (U.S. News & World Report)
The linked article is reports on “Our Fragile Intellect,” published by Gerald Crabree in Trends in Genetics. Okay, good news and bad news. The bad news is, as a species we might be growing less intelligent. The good news is that our collective smarts easily allow for the still-accelerating pace of progress. The silver lining could be that we get better and better at actually, you know, cooperating. Maybe now’s a good time to examine what we mean by “intelligent”? credit: SR
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Credits: SR = Scout Report | ES = EdSurge

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