This week we are looking at resources for open and distance education opportunities. 

Open education usually involves free resources, accessible to anyone, and can include online as well as opportunities by mail.  When I think of these resources online, I think of a sort of virtual library.  The advantage is that it is now including situations where students can converse with each others, teachers, or other professionals and gain experience in a group like setting.  The introduction of technology into this realm has opened up so many opportunities for students to enhance their accessibility to information.  I would consider this more of an opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills, versus pursuing a traditional degree.  The positive side of this is that it does nto require anyone to have met certain educational standards, the information is available to anyone who wants to learn.  I found a site online called “10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About But Should”.  Two particular open education opportunities listed sounded really intriguing to me and were not areas that I had really thought about when looking at open education previously. 

The first is CK-12.  . This site is a sort of virtual textbook platform (Flexbook) that offers free textbooks for K-12 students.  The content is based on educational standards and is openly licensed.  I think that this could be an amazing resource for schools.  Rather than needing to purchase new textbooks every few years, they could access textbooks through sites like this that could benefit their students.  Additionally, students and parents could access this in order to provide the students additional learning opportunities beyond what is offered in their classrooms. 

The second site I found on the 10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About but Should was Flat World Knowledge.   This site is similar to CK-12 in that it is virtual textbooks available for college textbooks.  The books are published under an open license and gives professors a chance to customize books or use them exactly how they come.  It basically gives professors a chance to combine their lecture material with information found in the books.  Students have free access to the books online or can pay to print them or get them via audiobooks.  This is a great resource, if professors choose to use it, to allow students to avoid the high costs of textbooks in college and allow students to have up to date and customized books that fit the model of that particular professor or class.  I would have loved to have a resource like this when I was in undergraduate and graduate programs. 

I wanted to include a resource for distance learning as well.  I chose the Fielding Graduate Institute  I chose this program because it is the only online APA (American Psychological Association) accredited program to obtain a Doctorate in Psychology. At one point in my career, I considered pursuing this degree but decided to take a different route instead.  However, I think this is an exceptional program and is a leader in providing online accredited programs in Psychology that will prepare future Psychologists for licensure in their state.  Many programs are accredited, but if not accredited by the APA specifically, it can cause someone to get a degree that would be essentially useless if they live in a state that requires APA accredidation.  In the past, the only way to get a Doctorate degree in Psychology would be to travel to an accredited college.  This allows more students with an interest in this field to pursue a doctorate in Psychology and help strengthen this field.  There are many locations where there are is a shortage of professionals with this level of expertise.