Open Educational Resources (OER) are at the core of what we do, so we are always happy to learn of ways that others are able to adapt and reuse our materials. Open learning materials can be edited, translated, localized, and generally improved upon by anyone, which effectively extends the usefulness of resources while distributing the considerable work of maintaining them.

Bay College in Michigan provides an excellent example of the “power of open”: an organization improving upon learning materials to meet their particular needs (see the College’s “OER Alliance“) while simultaneously providing for other institutions or individuals with similar needs — in this case, by making the materials more accessible to diverse audiences and sharing the improvement with us.

Bay College uses materials from our course PRDV101: Job Search Skills but instructors noticed that course videos did not have proper audio transcripts — only an automatically-generated transcript that left a lot to be desired. This rendered the videos inaccessible to anyone with difficulty hearing or with otherwise processing English-language audio, as well as effectively inaccessible to anyone unable to access YouTube — even to students who may not have headphones and would rather not broadcast their learning material to everyone within earshot.

The office of Online Learning and Instructional Design at Bay College invested in creating transcripts for these videos in a file format that allowed Saylor Academy to easily add the transcripts to our videos on YouTube. The college then further mined the work already done to create a visually-rich, attractive PDF document that effectively replicates the transcribed material in the videos.

The staff at Bay College have also elected to release the results under open license to encourage further reuse and adaptation.

To re-cap: starting with free, online videos that provided audio but nothing useful in the way of text, the folks at Bay College took a few simple steps to create learning objects that are:

  • capable of being consumed fully offline
  • easy to share digitally or in print
  • accessible to anyone who needs or prefers to read along with the video — or apart from the video
  • easy to review at a glance
  • easy to adapt into different formats

The benefits can be shared by Bay College students, by Saylor Academy students, and by anyone who encounters these materials in the future.

That is the power of open; that is why we choose open licenses for our materials and prefer open educational resources whenever we can find them for our own courses.

Bay College took advantage of an open license to meet specific goals of their own for the benefit of so many others. We encourage you to do likewise and share your results!

Explore the adapted materials:

FYE 103 Career Exploration (PDF) | Denise Dufek, Bay College | CC BY

Turn on Closed Captioning (CC) or the time-synced transcript under “· · · More” to see the fruits of Bay College’s OER labor:

“Job Search Skills – Getting Started” (YouTube)
“Creating a Game Plan” (YouTube)
“Managing Stress” (YouTube)

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