This year, the Open Education Conference was entirely online – which made it possible for me and Sara to attend and present a lightning talk titled “OER is Served: Framing OER as a Service to Stakeholders“.
Like Juliana and Sara when they attended OpenEd in 2018, I was excited to hear how other colleges and universities around the world were starting and sustaining their open education initiatives and I learned many things to use in my own work.
A lot of the writing and tips about working on OER programs come from and address publicly-funded colleges and universities; since Touro is one of a growing number of private institutions working on OER, this session was a relevant one. The presenters reiterated something we have already found to be true at Touro: private college students are just as concerned about textbooks costs as their public college peers, and private college faculty are just as interested in addressing those concerns.
This session from staff at MIT Open Learning detailed how they created a podcast called Chalk Beat Radio to promote open educational resources at MIT and beyond. The session began with the hosts playing a podcast they recorded explaining the steps they took to create the podcast series from start to finish and how they addressed some of the challenges they encountered. After they played the podcast, there was a live question and answer session, and there were many takeaways we can bring to our OER information sessions and webinars — maybe we’ll start a podcast, too!
Because Touro has such a strong School of Education, the discipline has been a focus as we try to grow the Open Touro initiative. Teacher training is also a natural fit for open pedagogy practices, and this session explored how that is being put into practice at Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx through a partnership between a faculty member and a librarian.
The OER Initiative at the Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania began during the 2019-2020 school year with the formation of a committee who got to work building a community that would adopt, adapt, and author OER and would keep the momentum going, even if funding ran out. The presenters pushed the importance of experienced faculty members who can support those just starting out, which is something we are working on developing through Touro’s OER Faculty Fellowship.
The Friday Plenary explored participants’ perceptions of this year’s conference and how this online format might be included in the future iterations of the conference, even if some aspects of it do return to in-person delivery. It was a productive way to wrap up the sessions and gave me a lot to think about as I finish my first year as an OER librarian.
All Open Education Conference sessions were recorded and will be made available for free on the conference website in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about open education at Touro, please check out our guides at the links below:
This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian