OER Materials Drive Student Engagement and Savings, Study Finds

OER Materials Drive Student Engagement and Savings, Study Finds by Meghan Bogardus Cortez

There is much work to be done in researching both the benefits and the downsides to OER, but I feel like the largest hurdle will continue to be convincing faculty that it does not necessarily need to be more work to utilize OER than traditional textbooks.

However, that requires work from the community to collect and review materials already available.

From Student to Instructor

While I might have completed my MA degree in May, I have now moved onto the next stage of whatever journey God has me on. It is a good thing God knows more than I do because I would be messing things up if I were in charge.

CSS LogoStarting next week I will be teaching CIS 1001 Computing Science Principles online for The College of St. Scholastica as an adjunct faculty member in the Computer Information Sciences department. I was able to teach a 1 credit continuing education course this summer for Martin Luther College, but this will be an entirely new experience as I work with a group of undergrad students for 16 weeks. This is an interesting transition from student to instructor but I am excited for the challenge and opportunity.

The next days will be filled with a lot of preparation as I get ready, and I pray that I can be a valuable instructor for the students I am able to work with this semester!


Subscription Apps, Default Apps, and Cloud Services

1Password has received some negative press because of their push for more users to switch from purchasing the app outright to a subscription model and the use of their own syncing service. They have responded on Twitter in this fashion to see of the complaints:

On a recent episode of Accidental Tech Podcast, the hosts talked at length about some of the issues around this push from 1Password (and others) and, overall, are sympathetic to the needs of software developers for recurring revenue but are a little bit sour to the push toward more cloud services from software development partners. Panic, makers of Transit (my favorite SFTP and more software), has their own sync service and so does The Omni Group.

However, this proliferation of cloud sync services along with the continued push to never own software but need to continually pay a subscription has me rethinking some of the applications I use on a daily basis.

For one thing, I have an adverse reaction to paying a subscription for things. It doesn’t need to make sense, but I hesitate every time I am asking to pay, via a subscription, for a piece of software (even one I use often). I’m far more likely to search out alternatives at that point.

Another issue is that paying a subscription, especially to another vendor, requires maintaining correct payment information over time. When my credit card expires, I need to find all of the places I have used that card and update it. If I want to change my banking provider, then I need to search out all of those areas as well.

I pay Apple for iCloud storage and an Apple Music subscription. I pay Netflix for entertainment. I pay a VPS provider for my virtual server. After that, I pay for a lot of software but I pay once, use the software, and then purchase the next version the next time I am asked to pay. It is a one time purchase. I don’t need to maintain payment information. It is simple, low maintenance, and understandable.

I have the feeling we will continue to see more software vendors moving to subscriptions models (or trying it out), and so it has me looking hard and long at utilizing built-in apps on my Apple devices. Reminders, Notes, and some others might have a more prominent places in my life especially with the ability to lock Notes, I might be able to move off of 1Password if it ever comes to that point.

Moving from OmniFocus to Reminders would be more of a challenge.

The First Days with MacBook

Another Mac has been added to the fold.

MacBook GroupI was given the opportunity to procure a used MacBook to add to my stable of computing devices and I decided to go ahead and do so. I have had my eyes on a super small Mac since 2010 when I was sitting in an Apple Genius training facility with a group of new Genius candidates from various stores and watched the relaunch of the MacBook Air. The 11-inch MacBook Air always intrigued me because of how small and light it was and how portable the machine would be compared to even the 13-inch MacBook Pro I was more accustomed to.

So, now I have this supplementary Mac meant only for using away from my normal desks and being as portable as possible. So, here are my uninformed and premature thoughts.

  • It is just fast enough. I know that this machine is going to be resource constrained, so I am trying to be purposeful in what I actually end up loading onto this device (applications) and what things I end up doing on here (tasks).
  • The keyboard continues to grow on me. I was fearful that I would hate it, but I do not. Definitely in the top half of keyboards I have used on laptops. The biggest thing is that it is super solid, I will continue to adjust my typing to accommodate the lack of typing distance.
  • I am still sold on the idea that USB-C is the future, but right now that future is confusing. I am hopeful that the future will bring better multi-port USB-C chargers, more and cheaper cables, and better adapters. As of right now, I am probably going to be trying out some of the cheaper ones all around.
  • For what I will use this machine for … one port is fine.
  • This. Thing. Is. Tiny. I am shocked with how small it is … but it is an astonishing how light it feels. Perfect as a portable.

I will have more to say in the future, but this is an amazing device. As to where it will ultimately fit in my computing landscape … I have no idea.