Creator or Curator? An OER Decision-Making Strategy for Content Development in Online and Blended Courses

Concurrent Session 7
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This presentation will engage participants in mapping key criteria that faculty can apply when deciding whether to create vs. curate content for online and blended courses, following a framework for OER course/programmatic development established by the presenters in a collaborative exercise and yielding a personalized take-away for immediate adoption.

Sponsored By


B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. Her research focuses on enhancing student learning in the online classroom through innovative instructional and assessment strategies. In addition, she has interests in the development of effective faculty evaluation models, perception of online degrees, and faculty workload considerations. Jean received her B.S. in comprehensive psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an M.S. in experimental psychology from Western Illinois University and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Julie has been teaching Psychology for more than 20 years. She served as Department Chair and Assistant Dean at the University of Southern Indiana and currently focuses on teaching at Kent State University, Geauga. Her interests include creative problem solving and mindfulness. She has served on the Psychology editorial review board since 2011 with MERLOT and has been a regular presenter at OLC focusing on OERs. She is in the process of flipping her classes and including OERs.
Ph.D. , Industrial/Organizational Psychology & M.A., Industrial/Organizational Psychology (Bowling Green State University) Profile Link:

Extended Abstract

Faculty who teach online and hybrid/blended courses make numerous critical decisions related to pedagogical approach, course design, and content development and selection. Given the rise of open educational resources (OER’s)—including institutional initiatives that encourage its use—the area of content generation is the focus of particular emphasis and attention. For example, 64% of the 242 institutions who participated in The 2018 Campus Computing Survey reported that their “campus[es] encourage faculty to use OER content for their courses,” and 81% agreed that “OER course materials and textbooks will be an important source for instructional resources in five years.” However, in the same survey only 38% of the participating institutions agreed that “faculty at my campus believe the quality of OER course materials is about the same as comparable commercial products.” These data suggest a gap between institutional expectations and faculty perceptions, and they call attention to the challenges that faculty may face in making decisions about the nature of the resources that they use in their courses.

Faculty apply criteria such as affordability, quality, time on task, and resources to choose among content options, weighing OER factors that may  include:

(1) publisher and/or OER vendor materials,

 (2) open educational resources (OER),

or (3) self-developed materials (i.e., “create your own,” or CYO). 

This presentation will engage participants in a discussion of their experiences with these three content sources and will result in the collaborative mapping of a decision-making strategy for determining when to create vs. curate course content.

Attendees will work collaboratively during this interactive session with peers in a content mapping exercise, resulting in a personalized takeaway resource to bring back to their institutions.

Key session topics will include the following.


  1. How do faculty decide (pedagogy, context, etc.) when to use OER, CYO, or publisher materials?
  2. Content mapping, spectrum of OER content, and resource/resource providers
  3. Faculty as SME vs Content Curator
  4. Assessing quality of OERs: whose job is it anyway?
  5. Institution-led OER initiatives: pros/cons


  • All attendees will leave the session with a personalized OER content mapping tool.
  • The presenters also will develop and share a reference document listing high-quality, OER-related resources.


The 2018 Campus Computing Survey. (2018, October 31). Retrieved from