Sharing Your OER
In the last topic area, we shared an example of OER that students had collaborated on as part of a larger OER initiative (The NOBA Project). When you explore the NOBA site, you can see the group of instructors and researchers who have contributed to the project.
You have many options on where to share your work, and you should take time to explore these options with your campus librarians, instructional designers, or other faculty who have created and shared OER on your campus. You can also reach out to SUNY OER Services to learn more about sharing and publishing options for your OER.
When you contribute OER, whether you reuse, remix, or create something new, you are advocating for and supporting Open Pedagogy. Rooted in the concept that access to learning and education is a human right, OER advocates around the world have harnessed that idea to provide more access to more resources to more people than ever before.
Becoming an OER Advocate
Advocating for OER use on your campus — among your students, colleagues, and campus leadership — is the next step on your journey. Students may not realize that they can play a key role in OER adoption on campus. Faculty on your campus may have never heard of OER, or if they have, they may not know how to start using them in their courses. And campus leadership may not be aware of the institutional benefits of adopting a campus-wide OER initiative.
Take the initiative to share your experiences with OER, and even any apprehensions you might have about integrating OER into your teaching, learning, and research. Many campuses hold OER-themed programming, like panel discussions or workshops, during Open Education Week or similar annual events. These provide opportunities for you to become involved in programming that supports OER use on campus.
Remember, SUNY OER Services partners with local practitioners for workshops on incorporating OER in the classroom; using and remixing content; and understanding open licensing. SOS can also help you work with campus stakeholders to build sustainable practices around OER.
Finding Other Campus Advocates
Support from a school’s administration, including the president and provost, is critical to the launch and continued success of any OER initiative. While individual faculty users of OER have clear impact for their students, administrative leadership can offer resources to connect faculty, provide support, and institutionalize OER programs to build a sustainable campus initiative. Finding ways to incentivize and help faculty take the challenge of reengineering their courses is one of the most important steps in this process.
Your campus most likely has an OER “point person” in place. This person typically serves as the primary contact for faculty, administration, and technical support teams. Acting as a campus liaison, this person should be able to provide accurate and useful information on OER use, and direct you to the appropriate resources.
This advocate can support your OER use by:
- Explaining the benefits and challenges of integrating OER into your work
- Helping you find, evaluate, adopt, adapt, and/or create OER
- Explore options on your campus and beyond to store, share, and maintain OER
Promoting and Sustaining OER Initiatives
Measure Success. Be sure that you are articulating the change in students and their learning since you have transitioned your courses to OER. If possible, try to show specific metrics in changes in completion rates, changes in test scores, or changes in final grades between your open materials and your previous conventionally published textbook. Your campus’s institutional research office may be able to help you identify these statistics.
Share your Materials. For many faculty, time is a big reason why they won’t adopt open materials. When you share your completed OER classes, you make it easier for your colleagues to follow in your footsteps. Sharing isn’t always easy, because it allows outsiders a more complete view into your course than you might be accustomed to, but sharing is the fastest way to inspire others in your field to adopt open education. If your whole course isn’t ready to go public yet, that’s okay – even making individual modules, handouts, lessons, or presentations available can provide your colleagues a huge leg up.
Find Friends. Faculty, librarians, and instructional designers who embrace OER are key in advancing an initiative on campus. These stakeholders serve as OER champions and understand that a successful implementation can result in the benefits OER offers, such as increased student savings, and increased success and retention rates. These colleagues can offer inspiration, commiseration, and opportunities that you may not be aware of on your own.
Identify Likely Administrative Champions. Talk about your success in open education with a trusted administrator, such as a dean or director. Chances are that your administration has heard of open education and might be looking for someone to help demonstrate the impact of open education to encourage others.
Build Your Message. If you are interested in growing open education at your institution, it will help you to build a cohesive message that resonates with others. Consider your goals, the reasons why you are interested in adopting open materials, and who you would like to influence as you craft a clear message that will inspire your colleagues, administrators, and students to support your efforts. It helps to be specific about what you want to achieve, and what you might need to make your open education work a success. Having an “elevator pitch” ready for OER will come in handy in unexpected ways.
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