This post is a response to the Ontario Extend Curator Module Extend Activity.

Finding the right OER to curate content for your course reminds me of shopping at Winners. You have to have patience to wade through all of the items, and if you are patient enough you might just find the perfect article of clothing (or OER for your course)!

This semester I will be teaching students compare and contrast essay writing. My Community and Justice Service students will visit 2-3 prisons in Ontario and then they must compare their observations at those visits to the information provided in their Canadian Corrections textbook. The program coordinator and I team teach this assignment (she covers content and I cover the writing process), then the students are able to submit one essay to be graded in each of our courses. I grade the writing (spelling, grammar, mechanics, structure, APA format, etc.) and the coordinator grades the content. We found that this is a great way for students to not be overwhelmed with writing assignments during their first semester of the program!

On the eCampus Ontario Open Library website, I typed in ‘essay’ and received 47 hits. I clicked on three different eTexts that looked like they might meet my needs for my lectures on the compare and contrast essay writing process.

  1. The Word on College Reading and Writing
  2. Writing for Success
  3. Writing in College: From Competence to ExcellenceWriting in College: From Competence to ExcellenceWriting in College: From Competence to Excellence

I found some relevant information from those textbooks that I could use as pre-reading (or supplemental reading) for my lectures.

On the Merlot website, I found a resource that provides a great handout about compare and contrast essay writing. I’d like to adapt this handout for my own purposes in my class! It is easy to read and I can see students posting it at their work areas to refer to it as they write their essays. Here is the resource link. The author called it “Down and Dirty Tips: Compare or Contrast Essay” — I’d change the name of the resource in my adaptation of it because I find the name tacky and inappropriate (but it’s a great handout)!

I didn’t find any videos that would be relevant using the respositories so I went good ol’ YouTube. I found this great video by Lisa’s Study Guides that gives a great overview of the three different types of compare and contrast essay structures — this would be a great starting point for my lecture, then we can work through each type together (or in groups).

Another great resource that I’ve used in the past for writing compare and contrast essays is to allow students to play with this web 2.0 tool from Read Write Think. This tool guides students through brainstorming their compare and contrast essay.

Screenshot of compare and contrast map

The one thing I find negative about OER is the amount of time it takes to find the perfect resource. Often it is faster for me to just create my own resource – this activity was a great exercise in trying to cut down on the amount of time required to find an OER by practicing using more concise search terms and learning a few more locations to look!

When creating my own resources for class, I should be considering adding a CC license on it and sharing it out! Stay tuned.

Using the C.R.A.A.P. Test in response to the Curator Module Extend Activity.

OER 1: Compare and Contrast Essay Map by Read Write Think

Currency: Although this resource has been around for many years, it has been updated – it really is  a timeless resource that could live forever (as long as the Flash updated automatically)!

Relevancy: This is a relevant resource for what I’d be asking of students. It helps them to brainstorm their essay using the compare and contrast essay structure they prefer.

Authority: This is from a reliable source. The advisors and authors of the website content are educators and the site is sponsored by The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), The Verizon Foundation and the International Literacy Council.

Accuracy: All content on the website is reviewed by advisors with degrees in education, so this resource is accurate!

Purpose: The sole purpose of this resource is to help students use their own topic and walk them through the brainstorming process – and it does that beautifully.

OER 2: Lisa’s Study Guides – Compare and Contrast Essay Structures

Currency: The video was posted in 2016 – it covers the three basic compare and contrast essay structures.

Relevancy: Great information for my needs in my lecture.

Authority: She is not an authority but…

Accuracy: the information she gives is accurate.

Purpose: The video outlines the three basic compare and contrast essay structures. I’d start the video at 1:33 minutes in because the first bit of the video is the author discussing an in-person event and plugging the sale of an English resource. This cuts out the bias/sales aspect.

OER 3: Down and Dirty Tips: Compare or Contrast Essay

Currency: The resource was added to Merlot in 2014. It isn’t current, but again compare and contrast essay structure and conventions don’t exactly change all the time!

Relevancy: Great information for my needs in my lecture and my students!

Authority: It says that the author, Karen Walker, is affiliated with St. Petersburg College and she has uploaded 7 resources into Merlot. Upon further investigation on the St. Petersburg College website, I see that Ms. Walker is an Instructional Designer, not necessarily an expert in essay structure (but maybe she just knows a lot)!

Accuracy: The information she gives is accurate.

Purpose: The purpose is to use this resource with students to help them through the process of writing a compare and contrast essay – this handout will do that and serve its purpose.

Blog Post Reflection in My Three Chosen OER:

I will use the video to introduce the three different compare and contrast essay structures to my students. I will post it on the LMS for students to be able to review in their own time. I’d like to create my own version of this video that gives a bit more detail and use better graphics.

I’d actually like to modify the handout to include all three types of compare and contrast essays structures covered in the video (so as to not confuse students). I like how it is a written text that helps give advice and guide students through the essay writing process.

I will use to the web 2.0 tool for brainstorming a compare and contrast essay with students during lab class so that they can play with the tool to start their brainstorming. It will help them walk through the process and they can even print (or save) their brainstorming.

Above I mentioned that finding OER to fit the exact context you need it for to be challenging but I love finding OER that I can modify to fit my needs or that give me great ideas for creating my own resources. One of my goals is to start sharing my own course content with a CC license.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.