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CAE/Library Workshops Promote Open Educational Resources

June, 2020
  • Open Educational Resources
    Open Educational Resources
  • Learning about OER.
    Learning about OER.

In May and June, the Center for Academic Excellence and the Alden Library sponsored five virtual workshops for QCC faculty and staff on Open Educational Resources (OER). Professor of English and Academic Technology Facilitator Amy Beaudry co-presented with, alternately, Dean of Library Services Cary Morse and Librarian Michael Stevenson.The workshops reached 39 QCC participants, with the Alden librarians working as “OER facilitators” – in a sense, matchmakers between faculty and a global library of high quality OER.

QCC’s leadership recognizes OER as part of the College’s commitment to social justice and student success. Given disruptions to our students’ educational and economic lives from the pandemic, access to high quality educational materials at no cost to students is more vital than ever.

“The pandemic has created a situation in which community college students are facing even more financial obstacles than before due to illness, job loss and caregiving responsibilities. OER helps these students access textbooks and other class materials at no cost, thus creating more equitable educational opportunities,” said Ms. Morse.

The Spring/Summer I workshops set the scope of the OER phenomenon following the Massachusetts's OER initiative, which uses UNESCO’s definition (teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation and distribution of resources) in its outreach across the state’s system of public higher education.

In each workshop, library staff navigated participants through Alden Library’s interactive LibGuide, OER for QCC. OER has so bloomed in recent years that the workshop introduced a number of aggregators that classify, review and offer OER. These aggregators are part of OER’s global, student-focused infrastructure of governments, nonprofits and commercial firms. One of the star aggregators is OpenWashington; several of the mega-sites are based at universities, or are stand-alone nonprofit organizations such as OER Commons, to which QCC contributes. 

The joint workshops were part of the broad effort to engage the QCC community in using and creating OER. Keep an eye out for an invitation to “OER DAY” at QCC on August 19. At that time, the library staff will review the State’s plans, offer additional workshops, and share real-world faculty experiences using OER.

“One of the overall goals of the OER initiative at QCC is to increase use of OER resources.  OER offers benefits for students (i.e. lower costs of education) and faculty (i.e. tailor the textbook and other OER materials to your syllabus and specific approach to course content),” Ms. Morse continued.