We Built It and They Came: Launching a Successful Faculty OER Review Program

Concurrent Session 10

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In 2016, the libraries at Furman University, Johnson C. Smith University, Davidson College, and Duke University launched joint Faculty Open Educational Review Programs at their institutions. The Programs educated faculty on the concepts of OER, assisted them in identifying OER relevant to their areas of expertise, and trained them how to strategically review and assess OER. Julie Reed, from Johnson C. Smith University, will discuss the librarians' work in effectively planning, promoting, and implementing the Programs at their respective institutions, and provide a summary of findings across all four Programs.


I serve as the Instructional Electronic Resource Librarian and am the liaison to the School of Social Work (BSW and MSW) and the Natural Science and Mathematics Departments. I'm a member of the Information Literacy Team and provide library instruction to many different types of classes. I have a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Extended Abstract

A recent study found that college textbook costs increased a staggering 945% between 1978 and 2014 (Perry, 2015). Moreover, research indicates that if students cannot afford course materials, 65% of them will avoid renting or buying texts even though they know it may possibly impact their overall success in the course (Senack, 2014).

Open Educational Resources (OER) offer a solution to this problem. OER are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online with few use restrictions. Examples of OER include textbooks, tutorials, videos, and lectures. A study at Virginia State University found that students who took courses that utilized OER materials “tended to have higher grades and lower failing and withdrawal rates” (Feldstein et al., 2012, “Student outcomes with digital textbooks,” para. 3). Additionally, Wiley (2013) argues that involving students in the adaptation and re-sharing of OER can make learning more public and meaningful for students.

Despite the many benefits of using OER materials, there is still a huge knowledge gap when it comes to understanding and adopting these resources. Faculty may not be aware of the resources available to them or how to determine which materials are the best fit for their classes. The libraries at Furman University, Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, and Duke University sought to bridge that gap. In summer of 2016, they received funding from The Duke Endowment Libraries Collaboration Fund to launch an Open Educational Resources (OER) Review Program at their respective institutions. The program served to educate instructors at the four Duke Endowment-supported (“Duke endowed”) campuses in the identification and assessment of OER, thereby creating an opportunity for them to gain familiarity with open learning objects before committing to adopting them in the classroom.

The program had two core components: OER training for the librarians at the Duke endowed institutions, and implementing a review program in which faculty conducted review(s) of existing OER to determine the feasibility of using them in the classroom.