4. Get Ready!
Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials that are readily available via the Web, at no or low-cost, that you can use to learn about almost any topic. OER is presented in a variety of formats that support different learning styles.
Prominent U.S. educational institutions including MIT and Carnegie-Mellon University started the OER movement by putting their course materials online for anyone to access. Many other institutions, from small community colleges to prestigious research universities, now contribute content to OER sites.
Using OER in Your Studies
When preparing for Excelsior College® Examinations, UExcel® exams, or taking courses at Excelsior, OER can introduce you to new information, broaden your knowledge of particular subject matter, and enrich your understanding of exam and course topics.
OER can also help lower the overall cost of earning college credit by reducing reliance on more expensive sources of information.
We have prepared A Guide to Open Educational Resources (PDF) with OER courses – matched to our credit-by-examination program – that have been identified by the College as academically sound and applicable to the topics covered on the exams.
Finding OER Resources
If you want to explore OER beyond what we have identified as suitable for Excelsior College Examinations and UExcel exams, here are some options:
University Sponsored OER
Most university-based OER content can be found using these sites:
Independently Sponsored OER
Examples of Web sites that specialize in OER Web courses designed by college professors under contract with the site sponsor include:
Limited-scope OER Options
Brief lessons on very specific topics rather than full courses are available on sites like Khan Academy and iTunes U. While full courses are available on iTunes U, the sheer volume of the offerings makes them challenging to find.
Test Preparation Advisory
Preparation for Excelsior College® Examinations, though based on independent study, is supported by Excelsior College with a comprehensive set of exam learning resources and services designed to help you succeed.
These learning resources are prepared by Excelsior College so you can be assured that they are current and cover the content you are expected to master for the exams. These resources, and your desire to learn, are usually all that you will need to succeed.
There are test-preparation companies that will offer to help you study for our examinations. Some may imply a relationship with Excelsior College and/or make claims that their products and services are all that you need to prepare for our examinations.
Excelsior College is not affiliated with any test preparation firm and does not endorse the products or services of these companies. No test preparation vendor is authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising services, or to collect any payments, on behalf of Excelsior College. Excelsior College does not send authorized representatives to a student's home.
Depending upon your individual learning style and needs, you may consider using the services and products of a test preparation vendor to help you prepare for an Excelsior College Examination. Some students have found such materials beneficial while others have not. The decision to purchase the services and products of any of these vendors is entirely up to you.
Excelsior College does not review the materials provided by test preparation companies for content or compatibility with Excelsior College Examinations.
To help you become a well-informed consumer we suggest that you consider the following before making any purchase decision regarding study materials provided by organizations other than Excelsior College.
Does the company:
- Clearly articulate that it is an independent business enterprise, separate from Excelsior College, and that it is not a degree granting institution?
- Clearly inform you that the products and services it provides have not been reviewed, nor are they endorsed, by Excelsior College?
- Openly indicate that it is not an agent of Excelsior College, that it is not authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising regarding Excelsior's degree requirements, and that all its costs and fees are separate from those you will pay to the College?
- Have a record of unresolved complaints/disputes with consumer protection agencies, nursing boards, attorneys general offices, or other similar organizations?
- Require clients to commit to long-term, binding contracts to access its products and services?
- Provide data to substantiate the satisfaction of its clients with its products and services?