Major Open Scholarship Website Update Includes New Open Education Tab

IU Libraries’ Open Scholarship website, an overview of open scholarship services provided by the Scholarly Communication department, recently underwent a major update. One of the  most notable changes to the site is the addition of the Open Education tab, which provides information on the library’s services regarding Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are teaching and learning resources shared under an open license, usually a Creative Commons license, that renders them compatible with the 5Rs of Open Education; they can be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed in perpetuity and without restrictions. OER provide free course materials to students, which help combat the rising price of textbooks (the average student at IUB spends over $1,000 on textbooks per year). The customizable nature of OER allows them to be closely tailored to specific courses and better reflect current events and new discoveries. While it can difficult to navigate implementing the right OER into your classroom, the Scholarly Communication department can help instructors find, evaluate, and create OER. The following is a detailed synopsis of the new open education tab, intended to help patrons understand the process of incorporating open education and OER into their pedagogy. This process often begins with searching for pre-existing OER to include in your course.

Screenshot of Open Education tab on Open Scholarship website

 

Find

There are many ways to approach finding OER. One possible starting point is to search for keywords in conjunction with “open educational resources” in your preferred search engine. There are also several OER repositories that can help streamline the process: the Open Education tab’s “find” subsection provides a list of some of our favorite repositories, and the IU OER LibGuide contains several other suggested resources. The LibGuide also provides access to the Mason OER Metafinder (MOM), which searches across several OER repositories. Often, there are many potentially relevant OER and choosing the right option for your classroom can be difficult. The following section provides evaluation tips and suggestions to make sure you are choosing the most appropriate resources.

Evaluate

As OER can be created, used, and revised by anybody, instructors may have concerns regarding their quality and suitability. The process for evaluating OER is very similar to evaluating any other course material; the only difference is understanding each resource’s specific license. The OER Evaluation Checklist provides a walkthrough of considerations when evaluating OER, in particular, ensuring that the materials are of proper quality, appropriate for the class demographic, and are technologically compatible with the course aims. The Open Scholarship website also contains a rubric for evaluating OER that addresses relevance, accuracy, production quality, accessibility, interactivity, and licensing. As an additional evaluative tool, many OER repositories include reviews of particular resources from other users, often other instructors, which provide a succinct and critical overview for  helping instructors quickly evaluate a particular OER. If you are still having trouble finding the right OER for your course, or are interested in development, the Scholarly Communication department can help instructors create their own OER.

Create

Creating an OER for your course can take many forms, and there are several resources available to you. One option is using Pressbooks, an accessible tool that allows users to create, edit, and publish texts in a variety of formats. It is easy to involve students with Pressbooks, and they can even create OER as a final project for a course. The Pressbooks User Guide provides a walkthrough of the tool, and the Open Pedagogy Notebook provides examples and suggestions for creating OER with students. There are even funding opportunities for supporting OER creation and implementation, such as IUB’s Information Literacy Course Grant. For a more thorough discussion of a recent example, please see Scholarly Communication Librarian Sarah Hare’s previous blog post about a course that received an Information Literacy Grant to create an OER using Pressbooks.

Further Resources

Not every class is the same, and the steps discussed above are not always linear. The process often includes a combination of different steps. The Scholarly Communication department offers various resources and services to help you integrate OER into your classroom, no matter what your project looks like. A detailed list of these services, including FAQs, can be found under the Open Scholarship website’s new Open Education tab, and the IU OER LibGuide provides supplementary resources and information. While this blog post details the Scholarly Communication Department’s OER services, it does not exhaust all available options for finding, implementing, and/or creating affordable course materials at IU. If you have any further questions about OER and how you can incorporate them into your classroom, please email iusw@indiana.edu.

Students Creating Open Educational Resources with Pressbooks: Redesigning L700

It’s Open Education Week again and we’re celebrating Open Educational Resources! In 2018, we hosted a “Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material” Symposium. The symposium featured three guest speakers from University of Wisconsin-Madison and centered on a UITS-supported book publishing tool, Pressbooks. Lots has happened with OER at IU since then: UITS rolled out Pressbooks for everyone with IU credentials (now anyone can log in and create/ publish OER with Pressbooks) and the Libraries started to partner with CITL and UITS to create tailored OER outreach for instructors in STEM. We’re also hosting a Brown Bag on OER on Wednesday, March 6–join us in person or on Zoom!

One of the most important outcomes of the symposium, though, was a course redesign for an online, doctoral-level course in the School of Education, L700: Seminar in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education (LCLE). The instructor of the course, Beth Lewis Samuelson, attended the symposium and became interested in Pressbooks as a result. Pressbooks is a great tool for authoring course material content: you can import/ export in multiple formats, it’s easy to use and looks like WordPress, and has some added features like built-in plugins for student annotation and engagement with texts.

Beth had already been talking to Julie Marie Frye, Head of the Education Library, about how to redesign the course so that students’ important work could be shared publicly. A core assignment for the course is a group project that asks students to present an overview of a research methodology or theory. The assignment is intentionally designed to give students an opportunity to do a deep dive into a methodology or theory that might be of interest for their dissertation work. The course is required for doctoral students in LCLE and this assignment recognizes that it is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of every methodology; instead, students explore what is of interest to them with the support of the instructor, colleagues, and librarians.

Our hope was that compiling students’ guides  into an OER would both a) make the assignment more meaningful and impactful and b) help other researchers interested in a comprehensive overview of a particular methodology find more information. Students creating OER is often called open pedagogy. Open pedagogy is pedagogy that:

  • moves past the “disposable assignment” (where students turn in an assignment, it is graded, and the work ends there) toward assignments that are immediately useful to wider publics
  • centers public and visible teaching and learning, expanding the boundaries of the classroom and giving students authentic experiences
  • recognizes students as expert, pushing back on narrow definitions of expertise and working from the understanding that student work is worth sharing

As Beth, Julie Marie, and I discussed student-created OER in more detail, we realized that students may need additional support in understanding openness (including Creative Commons) and mastering information literacy concepts related to evaluation, authoring, and entering the information ecosystem as not only readers, but also creators and authors. We also recognized that as doctoral students, it was an important exercise for students to read, understand, and sign a copyright agreement (and practice consulting with a co-author to agree on such an agreement) in order to contribute. Thus, we went with an “opt in” model, which is unique from other open pedagogy projects. Other projects will often be designed around an open class project with students opting out or completing alternative assignments if they don’t want to participate. There are pros and cons to each model but we intentionally chose this design in order to make publication processes and authorship more transparent.

We applied for and were awarded two grants to complete the redesign: a School of Education Teaching with Technology grant and an IU Libraries Information Literacy Course Grant [read our proposal]. These grants gave us funding and a support structure that made the redesign possible. For example, as a result of the grant we were able to hire a Pressbooks editor that kept track of author agreements, set up the Pressbook, collected contributions, and performed basic editing.

The grants also helped us expand the scope of the redesign in order to better support students and enhance their understanding of information literacy issues. As a result of the Teaching with Technology grant, we were able to hire an artist and videographer to create “chalk talks” that present concepts visually and inspire in-depth conversation about complex topics like authority and confidence as a new scholar. Chalk talks are educational videos where an instructor explains a concept verbally while a sketch presents information visually. One goal of shifting to a chalk talk model is that students see information presented in a variety of ways. For example, chalk talks often challenge instructors to illustrate concepts, often requiring that they use metaphors or analogies that help students make connections. The chalk talks also made a “flipped librarian” model possible, where the concepts covered in the talks didn’t also have to be covered in consultations.

We have several colleagues to thank for helping us draft this content. School of Education Professors Mitzi Lewison and Karen Wohlwend generously agreed to meet with us to discuss their research and publication processes. These interviews helped us craft and refine many of the scripts for the chalks talks. Additionally, as a result of the information literacy course grant, we were able to consult with Undergraduate Education Librarian Meggan Press on the chalk talk content, greatly improving how we presented concepts to students.

Four chalk talks were created on the following topics:

  • Credibility of Scholars: how scholars establish credibility
  • Acknowledgement of Authorities: best practices for acknowledging others’ work and building upon scholars before you
  • Challenging Authorities: the challenges of entering the scholarly conversation or information ecosystem as an author, particularly when pushing back on established work
  • Your Intellectual Property: how authors publish their work, including an overview of Creative Commons and copyright

a scene from the chalk talk on intellectual property depicts options for author rights: transfer, granting a license, or retaining

A scene from the chalk talk on intellectual property

All of these chalk talks will be openly licensed so that others can use them! 

Since L700 was online in Fall 2018, students were asked to answer a few questions about each chalk talk in order to engage with the content. For example, for the video on intellectual property, we asked students:

  • Have you ever had to sign a copyright agreement? If so, was it a transfer or did you grant a license to the publisher?
  • What excites you about sharing your work formally in the information ecosystem? What’s still intimidating or unclear about sharing your work?
  • Explore the Creative Commons License generator. Which license(s) align with how you want your work to be used by others?
  • What questions do you still have about copyright and your intellectual property?

Overall, we felt the redesign was successful. Discussions within Canvas about the chalk talks were thorough and engaging. Students had follow up questions about open access dissertations, which resulted in recording a short presentation on dissertations specifically. Each of the  Fall 2018 students agreed to contribute to the Pressbook via the contract we drafted in consultation with Copyright Librarian Naz Pantaloni. We are continuing to refine the Pressbook itself but hope to publish it (under a Creative Commons license!) soon. Additionally, L700 students from Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 are also contributing to the Pressbook. Thus, the book will span multiple course sections.

Still, there is work to be done. We continue to be involved in L700 and in mid-February, Julie Marie and I visited the course to facilitate a card sort activity, which asked students to reflect on how they evaluate and prioritize sources for their research. As an example, one of the criteria we discussed with students was cost, which prompted more in-depth conversations about open access than we had with previous iterations of the course. 

Table of contents of the pressbook, including chapters and sections

Short Guides in Education Research Methodologies Pressbook Table of Contents [on left] and sections of one of the research guides on Conversation Analysis [center]

We can’t wait to assess student learning by analyzing the Pressbook, discussion postings, and engagement with the chalk talks. This will help us better understand the redesign and how we could improve the curriculum and our pedagogy. Before our formal assessment we can still say that we learned some lessons along the way! Here are some tips for instructors considering a similar redesign:

  • Try to integrate conversations about open access throughout the course, not only when discussing OER. This should be a core component of conversations about finding literature and accessing resources. (This is something the Scholarly Communication department can help with!)
  • Try to have curriculum content created before the semester starts! We were creating content while the course was happening, which was a challenging balancing act.
  • Think through how design needs to change or adjust when teaching in person vs. online. Every redesign should consider this context and how presentation of content changes based on course makeup and setting.
  • Flesh out ways that students might explore different forms of critical annotation. In this assignment, students create a sort of annotated bibliography but using hypothes.is or a similar tool might lend itself to a different kind of engagement.

Are you interested in having your students create a textbook or other OER? Are you interested in better integrating digital literacy topics like curation, evaluation, and sharing intellectual property into your course? Wondering what Pressbooks is and how easy it would be for students to use?

Not sure where to start? We’re happy to help! E-mail iusw@indiana.edu to set up a consultation today.  

Open Education Week 2018 at IU: A Recap

On Thursday March 8, the Office of Scholarly Publishing and UITS partnered to hold a day-long Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material Symposium. The symposium featured three experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each expert brought a unique  perspective and context to the conversation. Steel Wagstaff (Educational Technology Consultant), Kris Olds (Professor of Geography), and Carrie Nelson (Librarian and Director of Scholarly Communication) presented at morning workshops and participated in an afternoon panel.

Both faculty and staff attended with the symposium, with representatives from the Kelley School of Business, the School of Education, UITS, the Office of Financial Literacy, and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs present. By the end of the day, at least one faculty member had switched from traditional course content to an affordable, digital eText! We’ve also already met with one faculty member interested in student-created OER and plan to have several follow up conversations in the coming months.

Participants chose one of two morning workshops: “Making Open Textbooks and Other Interactive Learning Activities with Pressbooks” with Steel Wagstaff or “Supporting Campus and Course-Level Adoption of Open Course Content” with Carrie Nelson and Kris Olds. These workshops were informative and informal, shaped by participants’ questions and centered on hands on application.

In Kris and Carrie’s session, we discussed the basics of open/ affordable and covered Creative Commons licensing, which then allowed us to have a more in-depth conversation about the process/ funding needed to create OER, governance and course material selection, student outreach, and the political economy of OER. Kris and Carrie also shared successful strategies for raising awareness about OER on their campus, which several participants felt was the most pressing barrier to more systematic adoption.

Robert McDonald, Associate Dean for Research and Technology Strategies, kicked off the afternoon panel with contextual information about the price of course materials at IUB and how these costs impact students. The panel then opened with an overview of current initiatives at IU Bloomington, presented by Michele Kelmer and Michael Regoli. The panel transitioned to  presentations from our UW-Madison guest experts. Each of the guest’s presentations demonstrated that UW-Madison is engaging in innovative work around Open Educational Resource (OER) creation and community building.

I was inspired by several parts of the panel, but there are two slides I’d like to highlight here as essential and foundational for shaping the Office of Scholarly Publishing’s outreach at IU Bloomington.

  • Steel’s guiding principles for his work:
    • Go anywhere
    • Talk to everyone
    • Say ‘yes… you can’
    • Find partners, champions, and enthusiasts
    • Build local capacity
  • Carrie’s argument that OER and affordable course material content work aligns with library values around:
    • Access
    • Confidentiality/Privacy
    • Democracy
    • Diversity
    • Education and Lifelong Learning
    • Intellectual Freedom
    • The Public Good
    • Preservation
    • Professionalism
    • Service
    • Social Responsibility

These points were both encouraging and motivating to me. The Scholarly Communication Department is invested in instructor agency and autonomy, student access, and building local expertise here at IUB. We hope to continue to find champions and enthusiasts that can partner with us to make these goals possible.

There were several goals for symposium: to build community around course material issues, to connect instructors and relevant staff from key offices on campus, to raise awareness about the spectrum of existing affordable course material work happening at IU Bloomington, and to guide the future of Office of Scholarly Publishing services. We know the conversation doesn’t end here! We look forward to continuing to work with instructors on affordable and open course material creation and adoption. We also hope to partner with librarians and instructors within the IU system, Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), and Unizin.

Resources

Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material Symposium To Be Held on March 8

Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate students are estimated to pay $1,034 for course materials each academic year. Said another way, students must work 142 hours at a minimum wage job to purchase their course materials each year. Thus, high course material costs directly impact first generation, food-insecure, and low-income students and their ability to do well in class.

IUB students are estimated to pay $1,034 for books and supplies for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Be part of the solution: http://bit.ly/IUAffordableTextbooks

Image created by IU Press

A national survey of over 2,000 students found that if students cannot afford course materials, 65% of them will avoid renting or buying texts even though they know it may possibly impact their overall success in a course. Almost half of the students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks also “impacted how many/ which classes they took each semester,” potentially affecting student course loads and degree progression (pg. 5).

Affordable and open course materials offer a potential solution to this issue. Affordable course materials are offered to students at a reduced price, often at a fraction of what they would normally pay. IU’s eText program has helped IU instructors integrate affordable course material into their classrooms since 2010. Students play a reduced, flat fee for their eTexts and they are guaranteed access on the first day of the semester, increasing engagement for the entire class. Students retain access to eTexts throughout their time as an IU student.

Similarly, Open Educational Resources (OER) are course materials that are shared under an intellectual property license that explicitly allows others to use and revise them freely. Examples of OER include textbooks, videos, activities, syllabi, and lectures shared under a Creative Commons license. In addition to cost savings, OER have been connected to student retention and completion. A study at Virginia State University found that students who took courses that utilized OER “tended to have higher grades and lower failing and withdrawal rates.” Thus, affordable and open course materials save students money while also helping instructors improve learning outcomes.

Still, many faculty do not know how to find, evaluate, or create affordable and open course material. The Office of Scholarly Publishing and UITS have partnered to hold a day-long Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material Symposium on March 8, which will explore the connection between course material costs and student success, progression, and retention. The symposium will feature three experts on affordable course material from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Steel Wagstaff (Educational Technology Consultant), Kris Olds (Professor of Geography), and Carrie Nelson (Librarian and Director of Scholarly Communication) will share their experience locating, creating, assessing, and integrating OER and affordable course material into courses in several disciplines.

Morning workshops will explore tools and repositories for finding and creating affordable course materials firsthand. The afternoon panel will provide an overview of current initiatives at IU and UW-Madison and address how course material costs impact students in more depth. The day will conclude with an informal reception, where attendees can meet one-on-one with IU experts to get started on adopting or creating affordable course material in their own courses.

All IU Bloomington instructors interested in course material creation, new forms of pedagogy, and tools for finding and evaluating affordable/ open content are welcome! Space is limited and registration is required by February 16, as lunch is provided.

Instructors interested in working with the Office of Scholarly Publishing to find or create either OER or eTexts can e-mail iusw@indiana.edu.