Practical OER: Transitioning from Theory to Implementation

February 2, 2018 (10:00am – 3:30pm)

Everyone can agree that Open Education Resources are a good thing: decreasing the cost of textbooks can make education more accessible for more people. The 2018 SUNYLA Midwinter Virtual Conference will focus on the ways in which staff at colleges have actually implemented OERs, and how the library has been involved with that process. Presentations will include information about cross-campus collaboration, how to identify faculty needs, facilitating an open campus, and managing custom textbooks. This conference’s presenters, who hail from SUNY schools as well as national and international institutions, will provide attendees with information about ways in which the community is making progress to save students dollars and create a culture shift in OER adoption, use, and sharing.

SUNYLA’s Midwinter Online Conference Committee:

  • Michelle Eichelberger, Genesee CC
  • Rosanne Humes, Nassau CC
  • Rebecca Hyams, SUNY Maritime (chair)
  • Bill Jones, SUNY Geneseo
  • Jill Locascio, SUNY Optometry
  • Carrie Marten, SUNY Purchase


Session 1 (10:00am-10:30am)

It Takes a Village: Library as Partner in a Cross-Departmental OER Support System

Dawn Eckenrode & Sophie Forrester, State University of New York at Fredonia

In this panel presentation, members of Fredonia’s OER Services Team will discuss the library’s role in a multi-faceted approach to increasing OER adoption on our campus. An overview of what has proven to be a successful combination of campus partnerships, outreach, support, development opportunities, and faculty incentives, will be shared. Successful library services include individual faculty appointments to assist with locating OER materials and navigating copyright; as well as a collaborative, informal weekly learning events called OER Discovery Labs. Discovery Labs provide a unique venue where faculty can learn from other faculty, while receiving library and instructional design support. Based on our preliminary efforts in Fall 2017, 22 faculty (and counting) have converted, or are committed to converting their courses to OER.

Session 2 (10:30am-11:00am)

Just Listen: A Textbook Listening Tour to Advance OER Adoption

Steven J. Bell & Annie Johnson, Temple University Libraries

In search of strategies to advance textbook affordability and OER adoption at our institution we created a Textbook Listening Tour. Rather than promote or push our OER interests on faculty we decided to first listen and learn more about current textbook decision-making behaviors and activity. This session will cover the logistics of organizing the Tour and how we involved colleagues from our undergraduate academic office and teaching and learning center.

Session 3 (11:10am-11:40am)

It’s Not About, About. OER as Choice.

Michael V. Daly, Fulton-Montgomery Community College

Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Evans Library has been the campus OER lead for four years. During that period librarians have ushered in, with the support of SUNY OER Services, a robust and sustainable platform for faculty across the curriculum choosing to use OER. What began with an IITG-funded project, three faculty, and 115 students has grown to seamlessly serve at least fifteen faculty and seven hundred students every semester. While dedicating time and talent to OER, librarians and the Evans Library have reaped the benefits not only being active agents in allowing students to avoid the high(er) cost of textbooks, increasing access in print and online environment to learning platforms but also faculty’s re-interest and use of traditional library services like databases, information literacy sessions, and librarian liaison duties.

Participants will be provided an overview how libraries and librarians in SUNY may rethink and revisions their role by proactively choosing OER to directly engage them with students, faculty and their institutions.

Details will be provided on how the Evans Library supports multiple access points for OER, collaborates with the College Store (Follet) to produce print versions of OER material and aims to provide evidence of the impact OER use has in courses.

Session 4 (11:40am – 12:10pm)

Culture Shift: Facilitating Institutional Culture Change to Boost the Adoption, Use, and Sharing of OERs

Stephanie Walker, University of North Dakota

In 2015, the University of North Dakota (UND) had no institutional program to promote adoption, creation, or utilization of Open Educational Resources (OERs). That September, UND’s new Dean of Library & Information Resources was given a mandate to advocate for OERs. Initial campus climate was resistant; a respected senior faculty member gave a speech in opposition to OERs at the University Senate, claiming OERs infringed on academic freedom. In 2 years, we’ve achieved a major cultural shift. UND has become a state leader in OERs. We are on our 4th round of funding for faculty stipends, workshops, and support for OERs. We’ve established a program of OER workshops, and created a support team of instructional designers, subject librarians, and others to assist faculty. We established the UND OER Working Group, which meets regularly to discuss promotion, support, funding, events, workshops, and policy matters such as the role of OERs in tenure and promotion. We’ve hosted major events featuring national experts; one event drew 100+ attendees from universities, schools, and government. We secured state funding for 2 rounds of support; after we reported saving students nearly $3 million, Student Government voted to provide $75,000 of funding. The Provost matched this with $25,000. We now have stable funding and a strong support structure. We created a grant program providing a $3000 faculty stipend per course. All faculty receiving stipends must take a 4-day workshop series we’ve developed on issues ranging from finding resources to providing support for students with disabilities to dealing with copyright questions and more.

We have changed the culture surrounding OERs at UND entirely. Events are well attended; calls for proposals generate strong responses. Faculty from every academic college have developed OERs or adapted their courses to use OERs. There are pedagogical changes: some faculty are using more interactive materials. Faculty have become our best ambassadors. The outspoken faculty member who opposed OERs is now a regular speaker at our events, and testified before the ND Legislature, extolling the virtues of OERs.

This presentation will trace the evolution of the program and the components leading to our success, including advocacy, outreach, marketing, coalition-building, creating a support program, workshop development, establishment of liaison relationships, seeking broad funding, and more. I believe this program is scalable and adaptable for any library.

Session 5 (1:00pm – 1:30pm)

Access, Development and Sharing: OERs in The UWI Open Campus

Adrian Kellman & Selwyn Rodulfo, The University of the West Indies, Open Campus

The Open Campus of The University of the West Indies has a mandate to provide professional and tertiary level educational opportunities to Caribbean citizens living in distant locations throughout the English-Speaking Caribbean region, away from the three “landed campuses” of the university. Technology-enabled online education is thus featured. Open Access and Open Educational Resources are becoming critical media for delivery. The Division of Academic Programming and Delivery (APAD) along with Libraries and Information Services (OCLIS) have initiated a collaboration to procure, produce, review, collate and share OERs for teaching and learning. In the presentation, the Librarians will discuss the roles OCLIS plays in (1) advancing the adoption of OERs both in the context of course development and delivery and (2) creation of OER repositories, while highlighting their unique collaborations with Curriculum Development Specialists, Subject Matter Experts, the Multimedia Instructional Designer and the Production Manager.

Session 6 (1:30pm – 2:00pm)

Intention, Tenacity, and a Bit of Serendipity: How We’ve Grown Open on the Canadian Prairies

Heather M. Ross & Shannon Lucky, University of Saskatchewan

The University of Saskatchewan has seen the use of OER grow from the first large adoption of an open textbook in 2015 to a large-scale open initiative sweeping the institution. Some of our successes have included saving students $800,000 within 4 years, the creation and adaptation of several open textbooks, the piloting of an OER repository for storing and sharing locally created resources, and the integration of open pedagogy in at least half a dozen courses. As this initiative continues to grow, and brings about a culture shift within the institution, librarians play a vital role in educating and supporting both instructors and students about all aspects of open learning. This session will explore how an OER initiative has grown at the University of Saskatchewan, and how librarians at your institution can move such programs forward. We’ll share high level ideas and examples of how librarians and educational developers have worked at the grass roots level to seek out opportunities, educate others about OER, build partnerships, support champions, and grow the interest level and integration of OER at the University.

Session 7 (2:10pm – 2:40pm)

Printing Custom Textbooks: SUNY OER Services & SUNY Press

Laura Murray (SUNY OLIS & SUNY OER Services) & Allison Brown (SUNY Geneseo)

OER gives us the advantage of using it any way we want – and many of us still want it in a physical format. SUNY OER Services has partnered with SUNY Press and several campuses to find an effective pathway for getting physical OER books in students’ hands. We will detail the workflow and share considerations for how your SUNY campus can participate in ’18-’19.

Session 8 (2:40pm – 3:10pm)

Open Education Resources: A UMUC Library Collaboration

Edward O’Donnell & Christine Moua, University of Maryland University College

The University of Maryland University College is primarily an online university with over 91,000 students worldwide. The majority of its students is comprised of working adults, many of whom are actively serving in the U.S. military. UMUC students are a large and diverse group living in many different time zones. It is therefore imperative that students can easily access required readings and other materials for their classes. To this end, UMUC implemented a program to replace most required textbooks with Open Educational Resources that are embedded within online classrooms. The UMUC Library was charged with assisting course instructors and academic directors in locating suitable OERs for a wide variety of classes.

This presentation will address the following topics:

  • The overall process by which the UMUC Library collaborated with faculty to locate and assess OERs.
  • Examples of repositories the Library used to locate and use OERs.
  • The creation of both general and subject-specific LibGuides to organize and share OERs within classrooms.
  • The role of Library Liaisons in finding suitable resources for classes.
  • Specific problems or disadvantages in using OERs, such as:
    • Confusion among students in citing OERs and solutions devised by Librarians.
    • Link rot: How to address what happens if particular OERs become permanently unavailable.

Because the UMUC Library serves a large university with a diverse, global student body, it is uniquely situated to discuss its role in helping to implement the transition from textbooks to OERs.

[Recording not available]