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OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Best Instructional Supplement

Aug 18, 2011

Not all Open Educational Resources are courses unto themselves. Some are great resources that can help students succeed in traditional classrooms, or just improve a self-learner's independent efforts. All of our nominees can make learning more engaging, accessible and fun. Read on to learn how.

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Winner: DNA from the Beginning

Best Instructional Supplement

DNA From the Beginning is a part of the DNA Learning Center, the first genetics education-focused science in the world. The mission of the DNA Learning Center is to give students and their families hands-on access to genetic information so that they can be better informed when making health care-related decisions.

DNA From the Beginning utilizes animation, photos, video and text to illustrate concepts like why children look like their parents and how chromosomes determine gender. After learning a concept, site visitors can test their knowledge with an interactive quiz.

For anyone looking to better understand heredity and genetics, DNA from the Beginning is the ideal place to start. It's logically organized so that users can follow the lessons in a sequence or bounce around between the concepts that interest them most. Visual, audio and participatory learners will all find the right presentation of information for their learning styles, and even someone with little to no existing knowledge of genetics will be able to follow these lessons and come away with a better understanding of what makes us....us.

But don't take our word for it: here's what one voter had to say: 'The instructional modules cover a wide variety of material, and are very clear and specific.' -Maureen Mackey White


ChemThink

Voter Amando Mecenas ChemThink it 'an important initiative' and we could not agree more! ChemThink's a colorful, interactive site designed for younger students of chemistry. It's meant to provide a more helpful understanding of chemical concepts using animated tutorials, question sets and lab simulations. Although ChemThink's specifically designed for classes of students (which allows teachers can assess their progress), individual users are also welcome to sign up for the site.

Flat World Knowledge

Voter Rosana Canela Barradas put it best: 'it is essential to enhance knowledge.' Flat World Knowledge supplies its users with a wealth of free online textbooks. Anyone can access them, of course, but if your teacher decides to use a Flat World text, you just got a college book for free! They also offer print-on-demand services and eBooks for students who'd like more traditional reading material; even then, students will end up paying less than they would have for a standard college text. Currently 59 textbooks are available in five categories, such as economics and mathematics.

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