Here are a list of online resources our faculty members have found helpful. Most are free. Feel free to add your favorites by posting a reply with the name and web address.


Open educational resources (OER) are “digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.”

OER include different kinds of digital assets. Learning content includes courses, course materials, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals. Tools include software that supports the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content, searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and on-line learning communities. Implementation resources include intellectual property licenses that govern open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content. They also include materials on best practices such as stories, publication, techniques, methods, processes, incentives, and distribution.

Open Educational Resources websites:

MERLOT- Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching at

National Repository for Online Courses content and in house materials —

The California State University system has been implementing a “Affordable Learning Solutions” initiative for about a year.   They have organized many open learning resources into a “one-stop shop” that is open to everyone – see

CSU have built some simple applications where a faculty or student can type in the ISBN of their textbook and “OER Finder” will provide a list of open learning resources associated with the topic of the textbook see or if you only want to find open textbooks (vs. course modules, online courses, etc), use the OER Finder at . The Affordable Learning Solutions and the OER Finder is built on the long term success of MERLOT (– an open online library of over 27,000 open learning resources, many of which have been peer reviewed by academic editorial boards.

CSU has started having faculty share their course syllabi that illustrates how they are substitute open learning resources for textbooks (see for some initial samples.

The CSU also has tested the strategy of licensing digital textbooks (“Renting Digital”) at a significantly lower cost (35% of new textbook price for the pilot studies).   You can read about the CSU’s Digital Marketplace project at and the “licensed content” project at: and the Digital Marketplace 2010 year-end report presentation on the open future and the speaker is Dr. David Wiley. While not totally open there is a large FIPSE Grant that was given to Florida State College in Jacksonville. They have a project called SIRIUS Academics which provides low cost course contents and books on several courses with more in the works. Person to contact if you are interested is Rick Granger: phone: 904-632-3307. Also you may contact Leslie Balsiger for materials that she has on this topic

Going hybrid

For those faculty in our member colleges who are thinking about creating hybrid courses, here are some great resources. Most are from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The next era in the advancement of the Internet is called the Internet of Things (IoT). Aptly named, the Internet of Things includes all of the devices and services that are now connected to the Internet, like your phone, iPad, computer, FitBit, television, coffee maker….

The number things that are in design and production that will be connected in the near future is growing at an exponential rate. The attached infograph from Goldman Sachs does a great job of explaining IoT and the growth in the future (see the complete infographic on their website).

So I came up with some variations for Higher Education:

IoWHNDITWB – Internet of We Have Never Done It That Way Before

IoTN – Internet of Tenure – No

IoAA – Internet of Antiquated Accreditation

IoSMTSTF – Internet of Students Are More Tech Savvy Than Faculty

IoYCTTO – Internet of You Can’t Teach That Online

IoPOH – Internet of Physical Office Hours

IoNOTT – Internet of Not Offered This Term

Enough for now… Add your own below.

Goldman Sachs | Macroeconomic Insights - What is the Internet of Things?

Goldman Sachs | Macroeconomic Insights – What is the Internet of Things?

The United States educational system has fallen on the many lists ranking success and performance over the years. Given that trend, would you be surprised if I told you that education ranks pretty low on the scale of investing in the Internet of Things (IoT)? Spoiler alert, we are not at the bottom, but pretty close.

Internetofthings ChartWhile the transportation and warehousing, manufacturing and information industries are each investing over $100 billion over the next six years, the education sector barely makes a blip on the chart.

Mining, construction, fishing and food service are banking on a connected world. Once again, education is failing and this lack of investment not only puts us behind today, but also will have lasting ramifications for the future.



For the last four years I have made the annual pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in search of the latest technology that could change the way we teach and our students learn. This year, however, I opted to avoid the other 200,000 or so people and watch the events online.

Internet of EverythingSamsung just announced that by 2017, 90 percent of all of its devices sold would be Internet-enabled. This is a big statement considering Samsung sold over 665 million products last year. If that’s not enough, the platform will be open, allowing developers to build other compatible software and hardware to interact with those devices.

Imagine if a university announced that by 2017 all of its faculty would be Internet-enabled. Just crazy talk.

As more colleges shift to online courses and exams, the potential for cheating grows. But new technology is on the rise that authenticates students’ identities with something that can’t be shared — their bodies.

Authentication: Biometrics

Colleges are using biometric authentication to leap past the days of PINs and passwords

Biometric Signature ID, a Lewisville, Texas, company, has found some success in higher education through its eponymous handwriting and gesture-based security program.

Mark Sarver, CEO of eduKan, a consortium of community colleges that offer online courses and degrees, says the group has been using biometric scanning to authenticate more than 10,000 students over the past three years. He told eCampus News that the technology has proved to be cost-effective and transparent to students.

Read the rest of this article by D. FRANK SMITH, posted June 27, 2014

In Biometrics We Trust? High-Tech Securities Spreading at Colleges


Medical ErrorsAs I was traveling by car to my parent’s home in West Virginia, I was listening to NPR on the radio. I am not sure which program or even the name of the guest because of the lack of reception in the mountains, but I listened in amazement as the host and a physician discussed a study published in the September 2013 Journal of Patient Safety.  The study revealed that the number of patients that die each year from preventable negligence caused by the hospital or medical provider ranges between 210,000 on the low end to over 400,000.

That makes medical errors the third leading killer of Americans behind heart disease and cancer.

My brain was spinning. Think of the amount of money spent to inform the public about the behaviors and foods that contribute to heart disease and cancer and the next biggest killer is the health care system itself!  Naturally, my thoughts turned to training and education. Numerous studies have shown the way we train physicians is ineffective and harmful. Hours working with little to no sleep, using patients as human Guiney pigs and the volumes of information medical students commit to memory in order to seem prepared for rounds. What could possibly be the reason we continue to train doctors this way? Mostly because their teachers, the doctors in the teaching hospitals, were trained that way: a right of passage they too must pass.

How about if we applied technology? My daughter became very ill several years ago and we rushed her to the emergency room in a small rural Kansas hospital. The young ER doctor that came in to examine her had a very troubled look on her face after her initial examination. She reached into her lab coat and pulled out an iPad and began searching. I must admit I was a bit worried. Did she not remember the stuff she learned in medical school? Was my daughter so sick that she had to look up some rare condition?

The doctor saw my expression and quite frankly stated they don’t get many cases like this in their hospital and she wanted to make sure her treatment plan reflected the most recent medical developments. Although I consider myself to be a technology evangelist of sorts, I was humbled by my lack of confidence in this young doctor because she was supporting her knowledge with technology. If you have seen my presentations or keynotes, you know that I am a huge advocate of changing our education system to teach students how to acquire information instead of memorizing it, which is precisely what the actions of this young doctor exemplified.

As the doctor on the NPR program pointed out, it is not about throwing money at the problem; rather it is about a systemic overhaul of the healthcare system. Imagine what could be achieved if higher education leaders stop throwing money at their problems and start changing the way we teach.

Worried about online authentication for your students? I’m excited to share this case study published about eduKan in Community College Week’s Spring 2014 Technology SupplementClick here to download the case study to find out how this biometric technology from BSI has helped cut operational costs, student proctoring fees and deters online cheating by students.

CCWeek Case Study: eduKan and  BioSig-ID

CCWeek Case Study: eduKan and BioSig-ID

CCW’s 2014 Technology Supplement features case studies, and the development and use of mobile Apps in community colleges.

Net NeutralityYesterday, the Supreme Court struck down key components of the FCC’s Open Internet Rules, effectively ending Net Neutrality. So why did this not make the news? Why are online education providers not screaming? Maybe most people just don’t care, or don’t know what it means, but they sure should.

In the most simplistic terms, net neutrality means that all Internet traffic should be treated as equal. Sounds fair enough, until you look at the other side of the equation. This greatly benefits bandwidth hogs, like Netflix and YouTube, who are able (and willing) to pay higher fees to consume more Internet bandwidth in a minute than the average Joe uses in a month.

NetNeutraltyWhile Netflix can afford to pay a higher premium to be able to stream endless hours of content at the highest speeds to their subscribers, how can a consortium of community colleges in Kansas afford to deliver hours of online education to thousands of students via the Internet? They simply cannot afford to pay the same rates as the media monoliths, rendering students helpless and frustrated as they move through their online coursework at the speed of Methuselah, relegated to the bottom of the bandwidth.

Adding insult to injury, the flush for-profit education giants, like the University of Phoenix, will be able to buy more bandwidth, leaving the smaller private online institutions in the virtual dust.  If your institution has an online presence, you might want to pay close attention to this ruling and the impact it could have on your students.

This is the much anticipated, yet vastly misunderstood Web 3.0. What are your thoughts? Please share below.

reposted from EvoLLLution Article written by Dr. Mark Sarver

Inter-Institutional Collaborations Critical to Compete

As we have been discussing the commoditization of higher education, the topic of how inter-institutional collaborations can help institutions compete in this ever-changing marketplace must be addressed. The two key areas of collaboration that help institutions boil down to increased opportunity and reduced costs…

In the often protected and territorial confines of a higher education institution, referred to as silos within the industry, cross-departmental cooperation is as rare as collaboration with another institution. We know the reasons: perception that no one can do it as well as me; concerns they will steal my ideas and get the credit; and that would involve me getting out of my comfort zone. However, working together allows for better ideas, shared risk and increased exposure (the good kind). It is not difficult, and quite often simply requires someone reaching out to involve others in an honest conversation to break down these negative misperceptions…

We are working on many cost containment activities, including shared grant writing services, a shared learning management system, a centralized faculty and staff training institute and joint purchasing of educational support software. These activities save our member institutions thousands of dollars each year.

Read the rest of this article here 

Way to be wildly innovative, IBM.

In your whitepaper, Taking the Guesswork out of Student Retention, you highlight the benefits of using IBM SPSS to predict and improve student retention. SPSS, first introduced as Statistical Package for Social Science and later changed to Statistical Product and Service Solutions, was first released in 1968. Granted, IBM paid 1.2 billion to purchase the company in 2009, so maybe it is just new to them. Anyone close to my age who attended graduate school will remember the pain and suffering of using SPSS and will probably agree with my assertion that IBM is going to have a tough time convincing us that their product is now user friendly and can help us with retention.

student dropout ratesTake a close look at the whitepaper. Start with the title, Taking the Guesswork out of Student Retention. You might infer from this bold title that SPSS has found a solution for retention issues. If true, this could help every institution in the world; who doesn’t want better retention? Yet the document doesn’t contain any evidence to support the claim that SPSS has improved retention. The first example from an implementation at Baruch College quotes the following:

Using IBM SPSS software, the college was able to better integrate data across all units. This led to a 7.1 increase in applications to its business school – when other schools were seeing sharp decreases – and a 21 percent annual increase in transfer students. Baruch also used IBM SPSS technologies to improve the placement of freshman in introductory courses, which significantly reduced drop outs.

Call me silly, but for a company that sells statistical software to use the words  “significantly reduced” is like the Pope saying sin is “kind of bad.” If they had claimed that “retention rose 22% over last year” or that the “college realized a net increase in total revenue by $200,000,” I may have been able to buy it.  But an increase in applications? What does that have to do with retention?

The next example is of SPSS being used at American Public University. I know APU’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Phil Ice, personally. He has done amazing work using predictive analytics. I also know that APU has done more than just “predict with 80 percent certainty at what point a given student is likely to drop out.”  For IBM to simply stop the story there without further discussing the amazing outcomes at APU is a slap in the face to Phil and his team, simply for the benefit of a marketing promo piece. If I were Phil, or the president of APU, I would be perturbed with IBM for publishing this assertion that their product was the primary reason for retention success, a fact the whitepaper fails to mention.

IBM, your public relations firm missed the mark with this obvious MARKETING ploy. My advice to you is to reconsider your entry into a market as an effort to repay that 1.2 billion dollar purchase of SPSS until you are 100% sure that you know how that market operates. I am left wondering if your software could have predicted just how far off the mark you are on this endeavor, from a statistically relevant perspective, of course.

Another interesting IBM factoid: In 1943, IBM chairman Thomas Watson said “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Now it’s your turn to tell me what you think about this? Share below, or tweet me @eduKanCEO.