Monday, November 21, 2011

Open Access for On-Line Education

Last week I commenced the course Assessment, Evaluation and Learning EDU5713, at University of Southern Queensland, via e-learning. One technique I have found useful to supplement the materials provided for the course, is to first look up terms in the Wikipedia and the search for materials in Google Scholar. Wikipedia generally provides a brief, easy to understand overview of the topic and Google Scholar provides authoritative papers (it is not a good idea to cite Wikipedia in your assignment).

As an example the Wikipedia entry for Assessment_for_Learning is very readable and the Google Scholar Entries are useful.

One way Google Scholar could be improved would be with an "Article Available" option. It is frustrating to have numerous articles listed, but then find most are behind pay-walls, so that it is not possible to read more than the abstract, without paying a fee or signing up to a service. I Suggest adding an extra option "Article Available" to allow only those articles where the text is available on-line without the need for payment or signing in.

It would also be useful to have the same open access options (for looking for articles with Creative Commons and similar licenses), as in the non-scholar advanced search, would also be useful.

While institutions, such as USQ, provide access to on-line papers via their library, it is much easier for the staff and the students, if freely available articles are selected for readings. This way the student does not need to login to the university library system to get to the article.

ps: Surprisingly on the topic of e-learning, many of the papers found are from Australian authors. This may be because the Google search engine, seeing I am in Australia is giving me local results, or that doing an Australian course I am searching on topics of particular interest to Australians. But it may be just that Australia is a leader in e-learning.

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