By Mallary Rawls
Last week I was able to attend the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) Open Educational Resources (OER) Summit in Orlando, FL. I was the only one from FSU Libraries who was able to attend, but I had a wonderful experience learning more about how to implement OER at FSU.
One of the surprising things at the summit was the amount of faculty in attendance. There were also librarians in attendance, as well as administrators. Having faculty show up and learn more about the what, why, and how of OER is very important. Librarians have been one of the leading forces behind the push for OER and it’s nice to see the sharing of responsibility with faculty. Faculty play a huge role in deciding what’s used in the classroom, so knowing that we’re sharing this space is a step in the right direction.
The summit began on Wednesday February 27thand opened with remarks from Dr. John Opper, FLVC Executive Director. He welcomed Una Daly, Director of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) that’s a division of the global Open Education Consortium. Her opening speech was about asking ourselves as educators, librarians, administrators “why” we’re choosing to learn or implement OER and “what” we’re doing. Daly spent a lot of time talking about Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses and programs, open pedagogy, and using instructional designers to help faculty plan their courses around OER. This is something that is open to anyone teaching at FSU. Our OER Task Force works with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching(CAT) and Fabrizio Fornara, Assistant Director of CAT recently joined our OER Task Force.
After Daly’s opening keynote speech, we were able to move into different rooms depending on the subject. The rooms were split into four groups: Mathematics, Writing & Composition, Humanities, and Business. I went with the humanities group where Kim Molinaro, a psychology professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL spoke about how she had worked extremely hard to implement OER in all of her psychology courses. Next we heard how Dr. Bruce Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida and James Paradiso, an instructional designer and program coordinator for textbook affordability at UCF worked together to also flip all of Dr. Wilson’s classes to use only OER. Attendees had their questions answered and I was able to meet a great group of librarians from University of Florida, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and Tallahassee Community College. There was a lunch & learn that afternoon where Ethan Senack from Creative Commons, USA gave a presentation on the basics of creative commons (CC) licensing, the difference between CC and copyright, and how different licensing interact with OER.
Thursday, February 28thwas the second and last day of the summit and Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education at SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) was the keynote speaker. Allen gave a great speech on her experience with OER and how she came to know what it is and how it has changed over the last decade. Hearing about her experiences and seeing how OER and the terminology has changed over time meant a lot to me. It really helped me put things into perspective and think of ways to talk to other librarians and faculty about how to approach OER.
We know change can be scary, but it happens. Seeing the toll of the rising and high costs of getting an education takes on students, parents, and other stakeholders is a reason why we should be implementing OER. Attending this summit has given me a lot to think about and a lot to work on, but I do think movement is achievable. FSU Libraries has supported a lot of endeavors and we’re fortunate because not all universities encounter the same support and encouragement, but we have so much more work to do.