Fostering Campus Partnerships that Support Adoption of Open Education Access Materials

Concurrent Session 1
Blended Leadership Equity and Inclusion

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

While the adoption of open instructional materials has gained merit in recent years, effective integration of open educational resources requires collaboration among a number of campus stakeholders (including faculty, instructional designers, technologists, librarians, etc.).  This presentation provides insights to foster campus partnerships that enhance the integration and maintenance of OER. 



2021 recipient of the OLC Gomory-Mayadas Leadership Award in Higher Education for innovations, collaborations, and support across 22 years of service in Higher Education. Sherri received joined the Automatic Sync Technologies/Verbit team in the role of a Senior Customer Support Manager, with the goal of collaborating with colleagues across the Higher Education space to best support their work in Digital Access and Inclusion. She continues her 20+ year career as a faculty member with serving in the role of a faculty member for the Department of Psychology (College of Science) and also the Department of Education (College of Education and Human Services) at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to joining AST/Verbit, Sherri served for almost 6 years as the Senior Executive Director of the Office of Digital and Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University, leading the digital and online learning initiatives, including digital and open access, digital accessibility, and all instructional technology initiatives. During this time at CCU, Sherri was an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching senior-level classes in lifespan psychology, such as Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Gerontology; she is excited to continue her faculty role in a part-time basis now with AST/Verbit. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 20 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, faculty, and over the last decade plus as a university-level administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an Associate Editor and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. She has served with OLC for over a decade, including as a conference proposal reviewer; steering committee member in the roles of Track Chair; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Co-Chair; Conference Program Chair; as well as overall Conference Chair. Her service to OLC has been transformative, and she strongly encourages all colleagues in HigherEd to participate and volunteer to connect with the OLC cohort of edtech/dig tech experts in Higher Education. Sherri continues actively participating in research today, as well as guest presenting. Her current research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, through the use of inclusive design and tools.
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

In our 2020 OLC Innovate presentation entitled “Creator or Curator? An OER Decision-Making Strategy for Content Development in Online and Blended Courses,”  we mapped a process that faculty members could follow when deciding whether to use Open Education Resources (OER) content in their courses. Building on this model at the 2021 OLC Innovate Conference, we delved more deeply into this topic by reviewing selected open education resource (OER) collections in our presentation entitled “Supporting Faculty Adoption of Open Ed Access Materials Through MERLOT.” Inspired by feedback from conference participants hailing from a variety of higher ed job roles, we now propose an expanded focus that will explore the benefits of fostering campus partnerships to support the implementation of OER in service of high-quality course development and pedagogy.

Open education resources offer a vast and continuously expanding array of options and opportunities that inform creativity and excellence in teaching and learning across the disciplines, including both student- and faculty-developed content, as well as a wealth of publisher-developed content at free or reduced costs.  Freely available learning materials such as open texts, animations and simulations, collections, assessment tools, apps, and open online courses provide much-needed access and affordability for students, and they offer faculty a high degree of flexibility in shaping courses and curricula. In a nod to the growing prominence of OERs in the higher ed environment, 89% of the CIOs who participated in the 2019 Campus Computing Survey agreed that “OER course materials and textbooks will be an important source of instructional resources in the next five years.” Moreover, participating CIOs confirmed a six-year, steady rise in the number of higher education institutions with policies that “encourage faculty to use OER content for courses” and that provide “formal institutional support for OER course materials.” Nonetheless, only 43% reported that “faculty at my campus believe that the quality of OER course materials is about the same as comparable commercial products.” 

These results illustrate that enhanced institutional emphasis on OERs does not automatically lead to adoption, as some hurdles as well as hesitancies remain in faculty adoption. Faculty continue to express concerns about the quality as well as the availability of open educational resources, a trend that speaks to the value of  focusing on the processes and approaches that institutions can implement to encourage and support high-quality OER implementation.

In this presentation, we explore the importance of fostering collaboration between multiple institutional stakeholders (faculty, instructional designers, instructional technologists, librarians, and others) to create a sustainable approach to the integration and maintenance of OER. Recognizing that incorporation of OER can be a daunting task for individual faculty, it is essential to foster a collaborative approach that taps into the expertise of the campus community. Further, we discuss solutions to administrative hurdles, the influence of institutional context and structure, and the impact of institutional policies and procedures related to OER. Presenters will discuss recommendations for successful OER integrations applicable across the spectrum, including for individual courses as well as standardized curriculum and programs. 

The presentation will offer the following primary objectives for participants:

  1. OER PARTNERSHIPS: Identify key institutional stakeholders essential for an effective collaborative approach to OER integration. 

  2. OER IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES: Outline challenges and potential solutions inherent in OER integration and maintenance. 

  3. OER IMPLEMENTATION EXAMPLES: Explore the role of institutional context as it influences policies, procedures, and utility of OER. 

  4. OER SOURCES: Cover a spectrum of OER content and resource providers (including MERLOT) selected as top tier recommendations from the presenters.


Takeaways and Engagement Activities: 

  • All attendees will leave the session with a framework for bringing together relevant OER stakeholders at their institution. 

  • The presenters also will develop and share a reference document listing high-quality, OER-related resources.

  • Throughout the presentation, on-screen prompts will engage the audience with interactive feedback, and general questions will be solicited at the end of the presentation