Collaborating to Build, Adapt, and Evaluate Open Educational Resources (OER)
Walz, Anita R.
Russell, John Morgan
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Although most instructors are concerned about the cost and fit of their course materials, many may not be willing or able to switch from the traditional publisher model due to a range of reasons including lack of time, knowledge, resources and support, institutional factors, and [un]willingness to change (Lashley, 2019; Conole & McAndrew, 2010). However, some instructors are able to reach their course material goals related to consistency, affordability, and fit by adopting collaborative approachesto authoring and adapting open educational resources (OER). Grant-funded and collaborative OER development approaches are increasingly offered by institutions of higher education. These initiatives aim to reduce costs to students and enable improved academic achievement due to increased student and instructor engagement, and better-fitting course materials (Walz, Jenson, and Salem, 2016; Colvard, Watson, and Park, 2018). OER are freely and publicly available materials for teaching and learning released under a license (such as a Creative Commons) that allow no-cost adaptation and sharing (Hewlett Foundation, n.d.). While evaluation and impact of such resources is a relatively young field, early research shows positive outcomes. Namely that OER are of equivalent quality or better than commercially published materials (Clinton and Khan, 2019), showing no instructional harm and eliminating course material costs, and have a disproportionately positive impact on Pell-grant eligible and first-generation students (Colvard, Watson & Park). Collaborative OER project support can include a range of financial incentives, development coaching, project management, copyright, open licensing, and publishing consultations, access to related software, graphic design, and assessment-related support for instructors. Completion and use of such curriculum resources has the benefit of decreased costs and potential for improved student academic achievements. Since 2014 the University Libraries at Virginia Tech have incentivized and supported faculty projects that create or adapt OER and publicly share them with the world. The intended audience of this poster includes instructors and potential collaborators who are considering creating or adapting open educational resources and want to know more about the process of a collaborative development approach to OER and potential benefits to them and students. The process as presented is a high-level sequence of overlapping steps undertaken by one or more members of our time in creating Significant Statistics. This presentation also lists significant areas of inquiry which commonly arise and require decisions in such a project, and benefits as reported by students and realized so far by the instructor.