The Region 3 Comprehensive Center is supporting the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) in its development of a digital Microsite, #GoOpenUSVI. The goal of the Microsite and its digital library is to provide high-quality, openly licensed educational resources for educators. Additionally, professional learning around the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Educational Practice (OEP) is also provided to support educators and ultimately improve student outcomes.
OERs are educational materials in the public domain. They are published under open licenses that specify how materials can be used, adapted, and shared according to user needs. Using OERs allows educators to develop or adapt instructional materials that will better resonate with their students. Hence, the Microsite allows for flexibility, customization, and innovation within the curriculum.
#GoOpenUSVI serves educators through a digital library and collaboration platform that promotes OEP and the creation, curation, and adoption of OERs. The digital library is populated with vetted and curated collections for all content areas. The Microsite features a Curriculum Hub that supports teachers of English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, music, health and physical education, career and technical education, and foreign languages. This Hub houses a collection of curricula and related resources under the acronym COER – where Curriculum meets Open Educational Resources. In this way, the Microsite also supports interdisciplinary and vertical alignment of instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
Over time, the Microsite will expand with resources developed or collected by VIDE stakeholders and educators who will collaborate with Virgin Islands organizations and cultural custodians. To this end, VIDE has started to build out a space that houses Virgin Islands’ history and cultural resources. These resources will align to the Virgin Islands Cultural Standards, which educators can access through the Microsite for daily integration into lesson plans.
To determine the effectiveness of the Microsite, Key Performance Indicators were established, and data analytics are utilized to track implementation and daily use of the platform. For example, VIDE is able to measure the level of user engagement to determine the needs for professional development, track the number of registered users, and monitor the number of submitted, authored, and aligned resources. These data are analyzed monthly by VIDE in order to grow the Microsite in the most effective and efficient manner.
Now, in its second year, #GoOpenUSVI is accessible globally, and Virgin Islands educators can use the resources in the digital library to support instruction for all students. While registered user accounts are utilized by VIDE employees across the territory, registration is not required to browse the Microsite.
To date, VIDE’s Microsite houses a vast array of curriculum and instruction resources under one roof—a one-stop shop, if you will. It provides access to over 11,000 resources with additional resources uploaded regularly. Through American Rescue Plan funding, VIDE has secured a five-year license for the Microsite, which will ensure availability to educators for many years to come.