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GEAR and OER GEAR is a repository (digital library) of open textbooks, open educational resources (OER), classroom materials, training materials, project management resources, examples of student work, and other TAACCCT related documents (including documentation about the software itself) from the ATCx3 Consortia (Athens Technical College, Albany Technical College, and Atlanta Technical College), supported in part by a TAACCCT Grant.
OER is content that can be shared, reused and licensed under Creative Commons. Materials created under the auspices of the TAACCCT grant are released under CC By, in compliance with the grant’s mandate of support for open resources and technologies. These materials are housed within an opensource software solution, Omeka (branded as GEAR), which can be accessed through multiple venues, including search engines such as Google, the LMS (Blackboard), and other access points.
Content is shareable across all platforms with support for social media and inclusion in other resources like blogs and class spaces located within Blackboard. The TAACCCT Grant collection contains content developed by ATCx3 faculty, instructional designers and grant staff with additional external content supplementing this collection located in the Open Textbooks Collection. Although the focus of the grant is Engineering Technology, foundational general education content addressing core classes in addition to support for writing and math skills are included. GEAR supports the key components of the grant: flexibility, scalability, and availability; with content licensed under creative commons developed as Open Education Resources, with a focus on accessible resources.
The grant’s mandate: “Students will have access to content on a continuous basis. This level of access allows students to spend more time on task, as well as provides the opportunity to review materials in order to enhance their understanding and comprehension of course objectives and materials. Another key component supporting flexibility, scalability, and availability will be the maximum utilization of open source content, applications, and materials. Instructors will collaborate with instructional designers to take full advantage of existing open source resources. When open resources are not available to meet the identified area and needs, the faculty and instructional designer will develop instructional programming to address the learning objectives using open source tools and standards.” Robin Fay, Portal Manager, 2015 Additionally, GEAR houses the digital archive of the ATC Archives in the Athens Campus Library, which includes scanned photographs, newspaper clippings records, and much more which are licensed as CC BY SA-NC (ShareAlike, Non-Commercial license).
A survey of nearly 75% of teaching faculty in the U.S., found that: “While only about one-third of faculty members claim to be aware of open educational resources, nearly one-half report that they use OER…. How is it that there are more faculty who are using OER than there are who say that they are aware of what it is? The answer appears to have two causes: the (lack of) faculty understanding of the term of 'Open Educational Resources,' and the fact that faculty often make resource choices without any consideration to the licensing of that resource." (Source, Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/10/29/two-thirds-of-faculty-unaware-of-open-education-resources.aspx ; infographic http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/openingthecurriculum2014infographic.pdf ) Faculty have the ability to recommend content for inclusion in attention to submitting their own content, thus, building a unique and robust collection of educational content. For more information about GEAR and the TAACCCT Grant, please visit http://ctlblog.athenstech.edu/initiatives/taaccct-grant/
GEAR was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information, including any information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.