Creating Online, Open Access Educational Materials and Impact

Sam Wineberg has written an article in the Chronicle on the value of creating Open Access online educational materials.  It’s a great article overall and worth reading. For me, what’s especially nice is the information on assessment of impact:

Reisman showed that students who used our curriculum not only outperformed peers on tests of historical knowledge but also grew in reading comprehension. When district officials asked us to make our materials available to every San Francisco teacher, we created a simple Web site and uploaded 75 PDF’s. It soon became clear that teachers were forwarding links to friends elsewhere. After six months, we had 50,000 downloads; 200,000 by the end of the first year.

This is a great write-up for me because assessment measures aren’t always available for digital work and in other cases they’re very available and varied. I can have a tendency to list assessment information in a way that sounds more like technical documentation rather than language that appropriately captures and communicates the importance and vibrancy of the work. It’s always great to be involved in projects with broader impacts, but it can be so great that I data load, and then I struggle with how to best communicate the impact and value with what data to include and simply footnote or document in a report. Sam Wineberg’s article seems like a particularly useful example for me to keep in mind in the future, and it was a great read about great work.