Reynolds librarians, Lynn Riggs and Denise Woetzel, recently attended the annual Open Education Conference right here in Richmond. Open education advocates gathered from around the world to learn about the latest research, development, advocacy, design, and other work relating to open education including: tools and technologies supporting open education; collaborations between teaching faculty and librarians in support of open education; models supporting the adoption, use, and sustaining of OER in higher education; and the role of librarians, faculty and students in advocating for, supporting, and sustaining OER adoption and use.
Lynn and Denise attended a wide variety of sessions on everything from open textbook publishing to open pedagogy. Several sessions that got Denise and Lynn most excited and inspired were:
- Free + Freedom: The Role of Open Pedagogy in the Open Education Movement, presented by Rajiv Jhangiani from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver and Robin DeRosa from Plymouth State University, New Hampshire. Professors Jhangiani and DeRosa explained the What, Why and How of open pedagogy. Open education is broader than open textbooks and savings. It is empowering students to make decisions about the courses they are taking as well as developing content for the course that is both meaningful and valuable to the rest of the higher education community. A fitting quote by John W. Gardner referred to during the session – “All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them how to grow their own plants.” Some open pedagogy examples identified were: students writing and editing wiki articles; a student-created first-year seminar at Plymouth State University where students were also involved in developing the attendance policy and grading policy. Some of the questions posed during the session were: Why have students answer questions when they can write them? What inspires teachers and students to learn, change, care? How can OER be part of a larger mission related to access and empowerment?
- It’s Not About the Books: Let’s Think About Open Pedagogy, presented by Christie Fierro, Instructional Designer and OER Coordinator at Tacoma Community College. Ms. Fierro defined open pedagogy as student-created content released with an open license which gives value to the world. Some examples of open pedagogy student projects at Tacoma Community College included: a presentation to the local town council on banning plastic bags; a video promoting and discussing the importance of a local food drive; students writing and modifying chapters for open history textbooks; and students collaborating with the library archivist to create a LibGuide on the history of Tacoma Community College.
- The Faces of OER: Student Reflections on the Z Degree Experience, this panel discussion included business professor, Linda Williams and four students from Tidewater Community College. Professor Williams began the session by asking, “Whose course are you teaching? McGraw-Hill’s or yours?” Several students reflected that the instructors for their Z degree courses were more engaged with the topics that were taught, and that they themselves felt more connected to these classes than to ones using only traditional textbooks. Students reflected that Z degree courses had a richer bank of resources for them to learn from that just one publisher.
- Establishing Actual Costs of Textbooks Across Curricula: Data from the Virginia Community College System, presented by Jamison Miller, Kim Grewe, and Amanda Carpenter-Horning. The College Board in its Annual Survey of Colleges estimates the cost per year for books and supplies is $1200.00. This group of doctoral students sought to find out how much the average costs for books are for first year students at the VCCS colleges. They compiled a list of college level, general education, first year courses at each school and checked these against the bookstores’ prices at each college. The estimated average cost of books for these two semesters in the VCCS is $1,110.50 which is less than but close to the national average. Estimated costs for a fall semester’s worth of books at Reynolds is just over $600. For a fall semester at Central Virginia Community College the cost is under $100.
Other session highlights included:
- A open writing resource project at VCU. Focused Inquiry faculty developed both APA and MLA citation guide material using WordPress. This open resource should be made available to the public sometime early next year.
- Initiatives at Arizona State University to develop and promote OER including the Professional Learning Library repository and Global Freshman Academy MOOC courses.
- The Open Textbook Network (OTN) commissioned a working group to create a guide on modifying open textbooks using PressBooks and Open Stax.
- University of Pittsburgh librarian, Paul Bond discussed the interrelationship between the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and open education.
- Jan Neuman of the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre discussed phase III of the OER World Map project, a growing collection of worldwide data on experts and activities in the field of open education. The map includes elements of a social networking platform, business information system, geoinformation system, and OER library catalog.
- Kiri Dali, librarian at Lord Fairfax Community College, discussed the Knowledge to Work (K2W) program funded by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Students enrolled in Health Information Management, Information Technology and Administrative Support Technology courses use the HigherEd.org portal to assess their competencies, create personalized learning plans and create journal entries about their learning experiences and goals.
- In his session, Next Gen Learning: Are Faculty and Administrators Prepared? Joshua Moe discussed the opportunities that next generation learning present including: student engagement, better outcomes and retention, personalized student-centric learning experiences, and inquiry based discovery.
- Creative Commons Open Business Models. Paul Stacey, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, discussed his project funded by a Kickstarter campaign to create a book on open business models made using Creative Commons. 24 businesses, creators and organizations with exemplary open business models were interviewed. An OER book on this project will be made available in spring 2017.
- Open Practice as a Tool for Educational Change, presented by Quill West, Open Education Project Manager at Pierce College. Ms. Quill discussed the importance of focusing not only on textbook cost savings but also moving towards the implementation of open pedagogy practices that incorporate high-value learning experiences.
- In his presentation, All the Words of Wisdom Sound the Same: Open Research in a Closed World, David Kernohan discussed how scholarly citation metrics and discovery tool algorithms dictate what articles and other publications are valuable and exclude great research papers written by people living in other areas of the world that don’t have as much money to get research grants, access databases, attend conferences or publish. Kernohan presented the idea of open citation and stated that “we can’t let the citation capital govern the value of published works.”
- The Future is Now: A Networked-Based Approach to the Next Generation of Open Textbooks, Hugh McGuire, founder of PressBooks and co-founder of the Rebus Foundation, as well as several Open Textbook Network (OTN) members dicussed open textbook publishing initiatives at their institutions.
- Transforming and Opening Education with Practical Pedagogy and Publishing Strategies, presented by Cyril Oberlander, University Library Dean at Humboldt State University. Dr. Oberlander believes libraries can’t sustain their role in procuring resources and sees the need for libraries to get into the publishing and curation business. Some examples identified during this session: how Open SUNY Textbooks became a brand for faculty in less than two years; faculty and librarians collaborating on encoding Thoreau’s Walden manuscript; Humboldt State Library offers a $300 stipend for faculty who attend an open textbooks workshop; Humboldt State students have helped faculty revise an open textbook for a Communications course; and Humboldt State University Press was launched in October 2015.
- Open Pedagogies: Levels of Learning, Support, and Community, presented by Lee Skallerup Bessette & Zachary Whalen from University of Mary Washington. Professors Bessette and Whalen discussed their open pedagogy project. Students collaborated with their peers to develop course materials for Introduction to Digital Studies (DGST 101) using various platforms and tools such as Canvas and Slack.
- What Libraries are Doing Regarding OER and Affordable Course Content: A Summary of Findings from ARL SPEC Kit 351, presented by Anita Walz, Open Education / Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian from Virginia Tech. Anita presented findings from an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) study to determine the degree to which members institutions are engaged with OER and affordable course content (ACC) initiatives including: librarian staffing, roles and services in these initiatives; governance; funding; faculty participation; and types of content being developed.
If you would like to talk to Lynn or Denise about the Open Education Conference or discuss possible OER collaborations with the library, you can contact them by email or phone:
Check out these other Open Education Conference resources: