Grant works to improve free online learning resources

Director of UM Center for Writing and Rhetoric Robert Cummings

OXFORD, Miss. — A new grant, awarded to Robert Cummings, director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi, will help improve the visibility of Open Educational Resources.


OERs are free and openly licensed online learning materials. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are one type of OER aimed at large-scale participation.


Cummings, along with researchers Pete Forsyth, Sara Frank Bristow and Alexis Hart, was awarded the $140,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for his work with the Communicate OER Project.


“The main purpose of the project is to improve the awareness of Open Educational Resources by improving the quality of OER pages on Wikipedia,” Cummings said.


Through OER, Cummings and his associates are working to create a better way to reach students through the Internet and teach subjects not available locally. Along with bridging the geographic gap, the project plans to cut the financial burden that often accompanies education.


The project will run for about 18 months and will take place in two phases. It is currently in its second phase: gathering participants to promote OER awareness.