Massive Online Open Conflicts

World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings is the latest massive online open collection to emerge from the Oxford OER stable. It provides digital learning materials available for global reuse in teaching about a global event.  Materials include articles, audio and video lectures, downloadable images, interactive maps and models, all available under a set of inter- and cross-disciplinary themes that seek to reappraise the War in its cultural, social, geographical and historical contexts.

Many of these resources have been specially created by the University of Oxford and partner academics for this website.  The collection is an Open Educational Resource (OER), with all materials are released under a Creative Commons license enabling educators, learners and resource creators to share or adapt the work under the terms and conditions of the licence  (CC BY–‐NC–‐SA)

 World War I Centenary… has been developed by experts in the field of First World War Studies, from across a range of higher and heritage institutions. They provided over 80 articles on the blog, and selected resources for the  Resource Library.

The project showcases the potential of remixing open–‐licensed materials into innovative learning resources. These include interactive maps to explore local and global dimensions of the conflict; a model addressing the relationship between the 1918 influenza epidemic and the War, and a virtual world simulation of World War I tunnels to support the teaching of conflict archaeology.

A key challenge, for the project was to engage with staff (academic and academic-related) within the University to embed the resource at an institutional level. The study of war is dispersed across academic departments, libraries, colleges, research units and museums. Individual special papers are taught in different courses including: Military History; Social History; History of Art; Literature; Archaeology; Material Culture; History of Medicine, and Virology.

The project engaged student ambassadors to create new resources. ‘Engaging students in the process of research and of creating resources does far more than simply enhancing the learning experience. It also develops valuable skills for life – while improving research outcomes too. ‘ (JISCInfom 37)

We know that the collection is used and useful more than  ¼ of visitors return to the site several times.

It has been a pleasure being involved in this project. As a junior historian of the First World War, with a keen eye on the developing centenary commemorations, it has been exciting to be involved ina  a project that speaks  to so many of the values that are important during the centenary period: education, new perspectives, the global nature of the war, accessible resources, reflection and critique. I hope this project continues to grow well beyond the centenary period to become one of the main ‘go to’ resources for educators and students of the First World War, locally, nationally and internationally. (Dr Catriona Pennell, Lecturer in History, University of Exeter)

The WWIC site’s achievement – which is particularly impressive given its small budget – has been to gather together a thought–‐provoking and inspiring collection of materials and innovatory projects. These have helped me to think in new ways about the power of digital materials – and helped to embed the wider experience of the war in the teaching and research of colleagues who would not consider themselves First World War specialists. (Dan Todman Senior Lecturer in History, Queen Mary, University of London)

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