Boundary Spanners: Bridging Gaps Between Higher Education and PreK12
Walz, Anita R.
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Boundary spanners serve as linking pins between organizations and can also fill structural holes, allowing networks with no previous connection to share information and resources. Using boundary-spanner practices, this presentation summarizes efforts between one university and area PK12 schools regarding development and broad sharing of relevant, adaptable PK12 OER course materials. Many personnel in higher education want to share their knowledge with a broader audience but lack the ability to create materials that best meet the needs of PK12 students. We were able to address these issues through collaboration between university content experts, teachers who have deep expertise in creating individualized learning materials, and processes and platforms for curation and broad sharing. When learning resources are created by the university in consultation with teachers, and shared as accessible and editable OER with broader geographic areas, the materials better fit the actual practice and needs of PK12 teachers, as well as allow the university to expand its reach and impact. As PK12 teachers are required to provide individualized levels of instruction and course materials for all students, it is critical that these materials be easily and legally editable as well as accessible for students with disabilities. Some of the most significant contributions of this work are in the areas of accessibility, copyright, permission and ability to edit, and broad sharing. Our case study will present rationale, need, process, and the artifacts (permission forms, checklists, and templates) developed together by two “boundary spanners” in order to enable partnership, creation, curation, and free sharing of more useful learning resources.