Supporting Faculty with Open Pedagogy Practices through the Adoption and Design of OER

Concurrent Session 5
Equity and Inclusion

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session outlines the need at our institution for faculty support on OER adoption and authoring, describes the ways in which institutional partners collaborate in an on-going response, shares efficacy data on these solutions, and engages participants in a conversation to brainstorm and troubleshoot the application of these ideas.

Extended Abstract

During our session, we’ll outline the need for faculty support on the fundamentals of OER adoption and authoring, describe the ways in which institutional partners collaborate to develop an on-going response to this need, share data on the efficacy of these solutions, and engage participants in a conversation to brainstorm and troubleshoot ways in which these ideas can be applied at their home institutions.

 With increased demand for OER support comes a responsibility and a need to educate faculty on the fundamentals of OER adoption and authoring. While institutional partners, including the university library, Student Success, and Academic Innovation divisions, have been working in the OER space since 2016, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for stronger campus partnerships for faculty teaching online with OER. The 2020-2021 academic year was a time of tumult and unprecedented change for our institution. With the abrupt and arduous shift to online learning in 2020, the need for OER increased a thousand-fold. For our students, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was acute as 45% of our institution’s undergraduates are first-generation college students and many students struggle to make ends meet. A national survey conducted in Summer 2020 revealed that first-generation college students are more likely than continuing generation students to face financial difficulties during the pandemic, including lost wages from family members, lost wages from employment, and increased living and technology expenses. Given the high numbers of first-generation students-students who are the first in their families to attend college-these impacts are felt deeply in our university community. 

The OER team at our institution has observed a direct relationship between online teaching and innovation and the desire for open pedagogy resources and strategies. For faculty, the transition to online learning elevated the need for textbooks that are free, available online, and that can be tailored. Fresh from their experience with teaching online and with more remote teaching planned in the future, our faculty OER incentive programs continue to address these needs for faculty and students. Our team has developed a network of support for these faculty that includes a grant program, live online webinars, and asynchronous courses that faculty can leverage to better serve their students and lessen their financial burden. For example, faculty who participate in the grant program are connected with a team of teaching and learning professionals that advise them in aspects of their teaching from course design to pedagogy. 

Our team continues to refine and improve each element of this support network based on the data and feedback we collect. Since 2016, our library has awarded 138 faculty grants, with a total investment of $182,000, yielding $10 million in student savings with a return on investment of $48 for every dollar spent. The library leads the campus in OER expansion and growth, nurturing faculty and campus partnerships in support of increased OER and affordable textbook adoption. Based on this captured data and discussions with other OER professionals, our team intends to expand this network of support to include making our courses and webinars more readily available to colleagues at other institutions, targeting marketing towards new faculty, scaffolding our offerings to ensure faculty become self-sufficient in adopting and designing OER, and highlighting the ways in which OER and open pedagogy thrives when students co-create course knowledge.

After understanding the ways in which we have addressed this faculty need for support, participants and facilitators will engage in a collaborative discussion about implementation strategies at the participants’ home institutions. Facilitators will prompt participants to consider their unique faculty and student populations, available resources, and potential barriers to the program or faculty engagement.