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.

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.

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