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OER Faculty Adoption Award Forum

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The OER (Open Educational Resources) Faculty Adoption Award Forum, held virtually on March 9, highlighted the diverse and flexible nature of openly licensed course materials and shined a light on student’s preference for free digital materials.

Professor Jeanne Liedtka, JD, received the award to transition the Law of Contracts and Sales elective to using OER. Not a newcomer to OER, she had previously used OER in the popular Intellectual Property (IP) Law for Business course. Liedtka compared and contrasted both successful experiences. IP is a dynamic branch of law heavily dependent on case law.  A law school text, Boyle & Jenkins’ Intellectual Property:  Law and the Information Society: Cases and Materials, served as the backbone of the course.  Her undergraduate student’s weren’t phased by materials designed for law school students, but Liedtka did go the extra mile to supplement the text with articles centering business perspectives on IP issues and recent cases in the public domain.  Liedtka noted that contract law is less dynamic field, and she had well developed lectures notes that served as the core of the course, so Introduction to Contracts, Sales & Product Liabilitywritten for undergraduates, was a serviceable reference.  She encouraged faculty interested in exploring OER adoptions to contact their subject librarians who can map available OER to course outlines and syllabi.

Valentina DeNardis, PhD, shared her personal and professional reasons for adopting Dickinson College Commentaries, to the Classics course, Readings in Authors. As a first generation student herself, Dr. DeNardis recalled feeling overwhelmed by the cost of texts and being stressed when the edition of a text she needed to use far exceeded the price for alternatives. In a grad school class, where she met her husband, she had to purchase a very costly scholarly monograph that was never even used, so now they have two pristine copies in their home. From a teaching perspective, Dr. DeNardis noted that affordability isn’t the only reason to choose openly licensed materials. Digital is convenient, flexible, and accessible. Because classics studies require a wide range of very expensive materials including texts, dictionaries, grammar books, translations, and essays, the Commentaries supplemented with Library-subscribed content was ideal.  Dr. DeNardis built a Microsoft OneNote notebook to deliver the content and as a forum for student collaboration.

A panel of students spoke to the social and academic benefits that flowed from using OER. Olivia noted that the online platform was better for visual learners because it facilitated looking up maps, videos, and images. Lauren felt that digital materials made it easier to do translations, because she could easily toggle between dictionaries. Anna liked digital sticky notes, which are environmentally friendly! From a pocket book point of view, Valeria noted that in fields with rapidly evolving developments having a current text is important, but it is distressing that the resale value of commercial textbooks diminish fast due to constant updates. Tuition increases and expensive textbooks can make it hard for some students to stay in college. She felt that using OER allowed everyone to be in the conversation and made class debates fun.

When asked about their overall experience with college textbooks, Olivia recommended frequent and early alerts about required books because discounted books sell out fast and delays in shipping can cause students to fall behind in their work. It was a relief to Lauren to find out on the first day of class that she didn’t have to pay for any books. Valeria said “eliminating the economic barrier of buying books gets everyone involved..[which] helps professors and students.” She observed that students can be discouraged from taking a class or  minoring in a subject because of expensive materials, whereas free or low cost books promote exploration. One student asked if professors are required to assign textbooks, even when they don’t intend to rely on them heavily, and wished that they would let students know up front when that is the case.

Dr. DeNardis explained that she hopes the effort she made finding and using affordable materials will serve as a model for her peers. Liedtka explained that at VSB faculty teaching core courses are encouraged to use the same text to ensure a consistent student experience, and that faculty have the freedom to design the course around the textbook, sometimes using relying on it heavily or sometimes only as a reference.

The forum concluded with a discussion about how to advance the use of OER at Villanova. On the demand side, both Dr. DeNardis and Liedtka recommended awards and grants, faculty surveys, forums and programs, and library services. On the demand side, both suggested encouragement and support for Villanova faculty authoring OER. They observed that authoring OER ensures the availability of great content and noted that it would enhance University branding and raise the profile of programs.

The 2022-23 Faculty Adoption Grant is accepting applications.  Visit this site to apply.

A recording of the OER Faculty Adoption Award Forum is available.


Linda Hauck is the Business Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library and Affordable Materials Project member.

 


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Celebrate VU Faculty Who Support Textbook Affordability at a Virtual Forum on March 9!

Faculty OER Adoption Award Forum

Villanova faculty, staff, students, and friends are cordially invited to join the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) in celebrating faculty members, Jeanne Liedtka, JD, and Valentina DeNardis, PhD, who were awarded Open Educational Resource (OER) Faculty Adoption Grants for 2021-22 in a virtual forum on Wednesday, March 9, from 3-4 p.m.

At this event, faculty will share their insights into the benefits and challenges posed by redesigning their courses using FREE, OPENLY LICENSED TEXTBOOKS. Students will also share feedback on using OER.

This event is perfect for faculty considering or curious about OER and everyone interested in educational affordability, accessibility, and inclusivity. This ACS-approved event is co-sponsored by the AMP and Falvey Memorial Library.

REGISTER HERE

Please be sure to join us at this event to celebrate faculty who support textbook affordability at Villanova!

 


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Regina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


 


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PA GOAL Grants for Open Educational Resources (OER)

The second cycle of applications for PA GOAL grants encouraging open and affordable course materials in Pennsylvania opened on June 2.  These grants are funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.  They present a promising opportunity for Villanova faculty and departments to win resources needed to convert high enrollment courses to open educational resources (OER).

Grants will be awarded for designing or redesigning courses using OER, and for authoring OER, or substantially improving OER by creating problem sets, interactive modules, or assessments.

Projects applicable to courses offered in 2021–22 that fill gaps in existing OER or that benefit multiple courses, degrees, or institutions will be prioritized.

Lead eligible applicants must be continuously employed at a nonprofit institution of higher in Pennsylvania. The second cycle of applications will close on July 5, 2021. A total of $400,000 is available to be awarded.  Award amounts will be guided by budgeted costs, but there are caps on team member payments. Project deliverables must be completed by June 2022.  Now’s the time to ramp your project planning into high gear.


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Celebrating Faculty Adopting Open Educational Resources (OER)

The Affordable Materials Project celebrated the work of five faculty members who adopted open educational resources (OER) in the 2020–21 academic year.  OER are free, accessible, and openly licensed textbooks.

Alexander Diaz Lopez, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mathematics & Statistics; Stephanie Katz Linkmeyer, PhD, Assistant Teaching Professor, Chemistry; Sarvesh Kulkarni, PhD, Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Sue McFarland Metzger, Professor of the Practice, Information Systems; and Motjaba Vaezi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, were motivated to adopt OER for a variety of reasons not limited to the significant cost savings for students. Faculty noted that the award inspired them to try OER.

Dr. Katz Linkmeyer appreciated the seamless integration of OER with Lab Archives, and Professor McFarland Metzger’s integrated with Blackboard. They liked that digital OER incorporated interactive features, but were also available as PDFs for offline use or in print. Professor McFarland Metzger noticed that by giving students the OER they all were on the same page with course content. One faculty member attributed improved Course and Teacher Surveys scores, in part, to the adoption of OER.

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Several faculty remarked they supplemented OER with extra notes, problems, exercises, and figures to better align with their course objectives and that this was time intensive but worthwhile. Additional support for these projects would be welcome.

Students remarked that they liked having continued access to the book in contrast to e-book rentals. They admitted that the use of OER relieved students from weighing the risks involved in waiting to see if the assigned textbook is really used as a key resource for learning and assessments. They felt that the use of OER relieved financial pressures and hoped to see more widespread adoption of OER across the curriculum.

The 2021–22 OER Faculty Adoption Grant is accepting applications.  Visit this site to apply.

A recording of the full faculty forum, including student’s remarks is available to the Villanova community and a version with only the faculty presentations, is available for open viewing.


Linda Hauck is the Business Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library and Affordable Materials Project member.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: June 2, 2021