Ohio University

Fostering Open Educational Resources

The Libraries was recently awarded $20,000 from the Trustees of the Ohio University Foundation as part of the 1804 Fund for undergraduate learning to begin a project that will foster the development of open educational resources (OER). The two-year project is designed to support the development of open textbook projects by faculty members.

According to Chris Guder, subject librarian for education, faculty will have the opportunity to submit applications for financial and non-financial support. Selections from a variety of departments on campus will be made based on merit and the feasibility of the projects. The project has already received interest from four to six faculty members.

“We’re trying to encourage OER use here on campus by offering not only our services but possibly a little money to help faculty get these projects up and running,” Guder said.

In addition to creating open textbooks, the goal of the grant fund is to: increase student engagement; begin the development of support services that will aid faculty in the creation of OER; improve student retention and learning; evaluate various textbook creation software and products; and host completed projects on the Libraries repository.

Throughout the OER creation process, Guder will work alongside two faculty members each year to help find a variety of platforms that can be used to create and publish OER materials, as well as advise faculty on the options available that might best suit their specific needs.

“We are uniquely positioned to provide guidance on OER creation…It [1804 Fund] allows us to collaborate with faculty using the experience we have with scholarly communication and the interest we have in providing the most useful resources to our campus community, “ Guder said.

Other grant funds may also be used to pay student employees who will assist faculty with aspects of OER creation, such as editing, proofreading, checking facts and citations, verifying statistics, formatting and authoring.

For Guder, this fund, and OER materials, are worthwhile because it allows faculty to create the exact thing they want for their class instead of settling for a textbook that may not exactly fit their curriculum. The project will also help to reduce textbook costs for students.

Upon the conclusion of the grant, final recommendations will be made to campus administrators, specifically the dean of Libraries, the University Press, the Office of Instructional Innovation, and the Faculty Senate, about necessary support services that will aid in building a culture of affordable course materials.

“At the end of this project, part of the grant will be to write a report talking about the kind of things that faculty on campus need, in terms of getting these projects going. So initially, start working; and then on the back end figure out what is needed and what might encourage more of these [OER materials] in the future,” Guder explained.

For more information contact Chris Guder.