One of the things that has naturally resulted from the increasing accessibility of information and the removal of limitations on its access is the proliferation of open educational resources, or OERs. This includes any text, media, or other digital assets that are freely accessible and openly licensed for the purposes of teaching, learning, and research. OERs are the foundation of an education startup called panOpen, which seeks to, in its founders own words, promote their widespread adoption in education. While there is plenty of information available openly on sites like Wikipedia, it can be a lot to sift through and many people end up searching blindly or without direction. The other options include textbooks, which can be costly for students are many of which receive updated information that makes older versions nearly useless. PanOpen provides a platform for the reception of information gathered by professionals and focused on specific studies at a dramatically reduced cost.
PanOpen, which features tech support for both PC and mobile devices, uses existing “open” content, but it goes far beyond simply sharing information that is already available. Many of these files are in specific formats, and panOpen makes it all universally accessible. Its team of faculty review and edit content, then turn it into complete courses. These courses can include not only information but activities, videos, interactive flashcards, slides, questions and assessments. Instructors can choose from panOpen’s general OER library but the platform also offers institutions or departments the ability to create private, locally-sourced libraries. Beyond that, it enables instructors to remix content by chapter, paragraph or sentence, build custom coursework using the company’s hosting platform and instructional design support, and even collaborate across institutions.
Educational institutions can access full curricula from panOpen regardless of any sudden computer support need thanks to its open accessibility, taking advantage of its full range of features at all times. Other than the information itself, it monitors how much time students spend reading, highlighting and notetaking, then offers analytics on individual and class performance. Professional educators vet and organize the content available; once accessible, however, any educator using the platform can adapt it as necessary to fit a specific need and share it with students easily and immediately. With panOpen, high quality content is easy to find, students no longer have to pay for books, content is easy and free to download, print, and share, and the impact is easy to gauge. With all of these benefits, it is easy to see how creates a stronger foundation for academic success.
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