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Sometimes You Need to Author the Course Content Yourself with Easy-To-Use Tools

Every Oklahoma campus has a set of tools and an academic technology staff that can help faculty author online course materials for their students. Below are some of the tools. Remember to follow guidelines for authoring accessible content so the online content you create is usable by everyone, including those with disabilities. You can find information about authoring accessible content at the Calfornia State University Professional Development for Accessible Technology Teaching Commons

Free Tools for Developing Online Course Content You Can Share

MERLOT logo MERLOT Content Builder - a set of free, web-based tools that are designed for people just beginning to author online content. The MERLOT Content Builder has been adapted by MERLOT from the Carnegie Foundation’s KEEP Toolkit and can be used by any registered MERLOT member. The Content Builder can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.

Connexions logo Connexions Authoring: Connexions is an open source platform and open access repository for open education resources, enabling the creation, sharing, modification, and vetting of open educational material accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime via the World Wide Web. From its inception, Connexions was designed to allow the collaborative development and free availability of material. Instructors and authors can modify this material for any educational purpose. Connexions offers Free/Open Source software tools to help students, instructors, and authors manage these information assets for sharing and advancing knowledge to benefit the global educational community. All of this is accomplished through the use of the Creative Commons Attribution license. Before you begin using the Connexions system, you should verify that you have all of the necessary software. Visit the Connexions Quick Start Guide for a listing of the software that you will need and the links to help you download it. The Connexions authoring environment can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.

Commerical Tool for Developing Online Course Content You Can Share

Softchalk logo SoftChalk – a commercially available authoring tool for easy content creation that can be used by any level of developer to create online learning materials. SoftChalk can easily produce accessible materials that comply with section 508 requirements. Developers can produce a learning material in SoftChalk via an integrated SoftChalk/MERLOT interface, and can directly catalog it in the MERLOT repository. SoftChalk provides special pricing programs for the CSU because of its leadership of MERLOT.

AcademicPub AcademicPub – gives educators the ability to easily create their own custom books for use in the classroom -- in e-book and/or print format. Technology skills are not required – point and click, and your book is ready. Faculty have complete control over what is added and may add content from the AcademicPub Library, web articles and blog postings as well as self-authored content in PDF or Word format. AcademicPub provides real-time copyright clearance, the ability to see a running total price as you build your book, and a cost savings for students. Additionally, peer recommendations from colleagues in your discipline provide new possibilities to enrich your courses.

  1. Faculty have complete control over custom content in their book
  2. E-book or print option provides flexibility for faculty and students
  3. Helps keep textbook costs lower for students – the price of the custom book is determined by the cost of the individual materials chosen, and can be tailored to the student budget
  4. The AcademicPub Content Library provides access to a wide range of publishers’ materials – complete books, book chapters, journal articles, open education resources, etc – enabling faculty to choose only what is needed for the course.

Sharing What You Author:

Once the online course materials are authored, we encourage authors to catalog their materials in MERLOT so other faculty and students can benefit from their time and talents invested in creating the content. It’s simple to catalog your online course content (or other websites you find that you use in your teaching) in MERLOT and help people find quality materials.

Click here for more information about adding materials to MERLOT.

Using Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides a methodology for authors to provide users of their content with the legal permissions to use that content in specific, pre-approved ways that:

  • encourage authors of online materials to share their work with others who might wish to reuse the materials in creative ways
  • ensure that contributions of online materials by authors to their community are protected from misuse and abuse.

To learn more about using Creative Commons, watch the MERLOT and Creative Commons video on YouTube.