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The Role of Faculty in OER Adoption and Use [clear filter]
Wednesday, November 2


Secrets to Success as a Faculty OER Champion
The most successful OER initiatives are those that are faculty driven and administratively supported. Key to this success are faculty champions who either by design or desire take on the role of OER advocate. In this presentation, Linda Williams, Faculty Team Lead and Champion for Tidewater Community College's Z Degree shares lessons learned, including keys to success and challenges faced by faculty champions. Among topics covered are building consensus, garnering support and overcoming objections to OER adoption.

avatar for Linda Williams

Linda Williams

Professor, Business Administration, Tidewater Community College
Business Professor Linda Williams has become the face of TCC’s Textbook Free Degree. She’s been featured in countless articles and television interviews about the cutting edge program that enables TCC business students to earn an entire degree while spending zero funds for textbooks.“It... Read More →

Wednesday November 2, 2016 10:30am - 10:55am


Faculty Experiences, Reflections and Perceptions of Open Textbooks
The rationale for adoption of open textbooks for students is easy, but for faculty the decision to adopt open textbooks may occur for multifaceted reasons. A selection of a random subset (n=25) of faculty members in British Columbia will mine the experiences of educators through the lens of activity theory. In particular the questions will seek to uncover:

- Motivations for adopting open education

- Nature of adoption/adaption

- Experiences with adopting/adapting

- Perceptions of open textbook

- Perceived impact on the adoption of open textbooks on their students

- Reflections on changes to teaching philosophy or pedagogy

- Evaluation of the open textbook adopted (based on a rubric)

Additional themes the researchers seek to uncover will include faculty member's exposure to targeted OER training programs or open textbooks advocates, how storage and search functionality advances open textbook adoption, and what community of learning supports exist for instructors wanting to implement open textbooks and share their experiences.

By investigating faculties adoption of open textbooks through the lens of activity theory, we are exploring open textbook adoption through the analytical components of subject, tool and object where the subject is the faculty--including consideration of their personality and teaching philosophy, the object is an open textbook, and the tool is the mechanism by which the adoption took place.

In addition, the lens of activity theory will illuminate the historical context and current environment in which faculty implement open textbooks. A holistic approach to exploring researcher's experience includes consideration of the community the faculty member finds herself in, the rules of OER, and the way that the relationships of faculty to open textbooks are mediated by the division of labour.

OER development and implementation practices have become well documented in open education. As the movement grows beyond grassroots activism to widespread adoption, a research gap still remains in exploring educator's experiences in adopting open textbooks.

As John Hilton (2016) has stated "OER has moved into theory from practice" and in Canada and the United States open textbooks are the most obvious point of entry into OER. Textbooks offer an easy alternative to full-scale course development when Universities are employing more adjuncts and instructors are finding themselves struggling to catch up with changing technologies.

Exploring the motivations and perceptions of faculty allows for the gradual development of "case studies' and a chance to study the emergence of best practices in open textbooks through every step of the development and implementation process. British Columbia is an ideal place to document the successes of open textbook adoption as they have seen great success in open textbook initiatives.

avatar for Rajiv Jhangiani

Rajiv Jhangiani

Open Studies Teaching Fellow & Psychology Professor, BCcampus
I am the University Teaching Fellow in Open Studies and a Psychology Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, BC, where I conduct research in open education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I also serve as the Senior Open Education Advocacy & Research... Read More →
avatar for Danielle  Paradis

Danielle Paradis

Co-Researcher, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Wednesday November 2, 2016 10:55am - 11:20am


Does Your Talk Match Your Walk? Setting the Example for OER Doubters.
Many faculty resist adopting OERs, questioning their quality; others say they are too busy to consider developing their own. However, when a college is fortunate to have faculty who have developed and/or adopted OERs, those faculty can recommend their use to others with an added air of credibility. The experienced faculty are in a position to offer expertise to others throughout the process of considering new OER development and adoption.

Mark Kelland is a psychology professor at Lansing Community College (LCC) who wrote a personality textbook for a major publisher. Eventually, however, he regained the ownership of his copyright and began giving the textbook to his students for free. Now that his book is available on OpenStax CNX, he is the first faculty member at LCC to make a full textbook available as an OER. Recently he began developing OERs for another course, and he led the way successfully encouraging his colleagues to adopt the OpenStax College textbook for introductory psychology. In this presentation, Mark will share his experiences writing traditional academic material as compared to OERs, and the advantages of choosing the OER option.

Kari Richards is the faculty chair for the foreign language program at LCC. She has actively adopted OERs for her own classes in German, and supported others in considering the adoption of OERs for courses in French and Spanish. With Kari's encouragement and support, our first OER foreign language course (Conversational German) launched fall 2015, and in spring 2016 there were two additional OER foreign language courses (Conversational French & Spanish). All three OER foreign language courses were created by adjunct faculty and have received positive feedback from the students. Along with Mark, Kari has been identified as one of the leading faculty advocates for OERs on LCC's campus (Mark as a full-time professor; Kari as an adjunct professor).

The latter point is an example of one of the most interesting experiences we have encountered: that many adjunct faculty are the ones eager to consider OERs. We have begun enlisting and encouraging our adjunct faculty in particular to help develop enough OER-based courses to support several z-degrees at LCC (zero-textbook-cost degrees in psychology and our two general transfer degrees). Both Mark and Kari are focused on encouraging campus-wide use of OERs at LCC, supporting the faculty who are willing to participate, and ultimately winning over everyone else. An important part of this presentation will be a discussion of what we envision as the future of OER development and adoption at LCC, and the initial positive experiences we have encountered while attempting to enlist others to join us.

Supported by an academic librarian who has become the OER Project Manager on campus, with Mark representing the full-time faculty and Kari representing the adjunct faculty, we have a motivated and active team supporting the development and adoption of OERs on our campus. We anticipate a groundswell of support across campus as we move forward in our own programs and the initial z-degrees.


Mark Kelland

Professor, Lansing Community College

Wednesday November 2, 2016 11:30am - 11:55am


Breaking Tradition: A Faculty-Developed Open Writing Resource at VCU
As part of a shift toward open education at VCU, the OER committee in the Department of Focused Inquiry has begun a grassroots project to build a re-envisioned writing resource to replace our traditionally-published print handbook. The Department of Focused Inquiry primarily teaches a sequence of three courses focusing on critical thinking, information fluency and writing (among other objectives). VCU enrolls over 4000 students in this innovative first- and second-year sequence that replaced traditional freshman and sophomore composition and is taught by over 65 interdisciplinary faculty.

A faculty survey revealed that the use of an $80 required reference book was primarily limited to teaching citation and documentation. Based on these results and a series of committee discussions and votes, the OER committee gained department-wide support for developing OER to replace this expensive handbook.

Given that most of the material in our previous book is freely available and new material is frequently needed to respond to rapidly emerging technologies, we recognized an ideal opportunity to build an OER. Because our faculty already embraces a shared curriculum and frequently and freely shares teaching materials, it was a natural choice for eight faculty members, including VCU Libraries faculty, to develop a project that would initiate our larger OER endeavors. The group sees this and future OER projects as a way to extend the department's collaborative efforts to develop content and establish a comprehensive and fluid set of resources for learning across multiple audiences.

Faculty in our department and elsewhere can develop original content to be included in the OER, and the project will include links to high-quality content available on the web. Individual professors can then design their own course material by selecting from the content and tools we offer, thus giving them an unprecedented amount of control. Our approach will also allow us to quickly add new information, citation styles, and other tools based on user requests and changing technology.

In this presentation, we will explain the history of this faculty-initiated project, our current process and methods for generating content, and showcase the product thus far. We will discuss the challenges we are facing, including the need for funding and support, which has been difficult to find. Further discussion will include planning for updates in citation styles and other content and the ongoing need for programming and technical support. We welcome input, feedback, and content suggestions from our audience.

Wednesday November 2, 2016 1:15pm - 2:05pm


How to Open an Academic Department: A Case Study
This presentation is the story of how my psychology department embarked on the winding and pot-holed road to openness. In the space of two years we went from virtually zero open educational resources and practices to a department that leads our institution in terms of the number of sections taught with open textbooks. This achievement helped our institution become the first in the province to reach 100 class adoptions, with an estimated quarter million dollars in savings for our students. Today, our faculty have authored, adopted, or adapted open educational resources such as textbooks, courses, test banks, and wikis. We have collaborated with student groups, librarians, other disciplines, administrators, government agencies, and non-profits. Our open educational resources (OER) committee facilitates open initiatives. And we have conducted research into the efficacy of open vs. traditional textbooks.

This presentation provides insights into how an academic department opened itself to the principles, practices, and possibilities of open education. This embracing of openness is remarkable given the closed nature of most academic departments. Academic departments are the scholarly enclaves where new and powerful ideas are endlessly generated. Ironically, new ideas applied to the department itself and that might improve governance models, program offerings, or traditional practices are typically met with resistance. Academic resistance to change is rooted in the nature and history of universities themselves. For more than 95% of their thousand-year-old history, universities were primarily tasked with knowledge transfer from master to student. This task was facilitated by the hierarchical, parochial, and tradition-bound governance structures and organizational processes that emerged over those centuries and which are still largely in play today. The painfully slow adoption of open educational resources and practices is the latest consequence of this reality.

This presentation will cover strategies, lessons learned, and practical advice for opening your academic department, specifically, (a) ideas for fostering a departmental culture of openness; (b) advice for addressing quality issues related to OER; and (c) suggestions for increasing departmental control over open education initiatives.

avatar for Farhad Dastur

Farhad Dastur

Faculty Member, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
I am a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where I teach evolutionary psychology, perception, & workplace innovation. My research interests include sensory perception in pregnant women, the determinants of intersection collisions between motorcycles and cars, the role... Read More →

Wednesday November 2, 2016 2:15pm - 2:40pm


The Impact of Student Savings on Faculty Willingness to Adopt OER
This presentation will synthesize the results of two surveys completed within the last two years. The first focus will be on examining barriers to and incentives for faculty adoption of OER. Our research found that faculty members are concerned with the high costs students face in education and considered the cost savings associated with OER as an incentive to overcome adoption barriers. Little research has been done, however, to explore how students use, or would use, the money saved from OER implementation. We will present results from a survey in which students who used OER in their courses provided insight into how they repurposed these funds.

The first study will report on 218 faculty free responses regarding OER perceptions. Responses were qualitatively analyzed and ten categories were discovered in the coding process. The top three categories that indicated barriers to the adoption of OER were need more information (faculty wanted more information before they would be willing to adopt OER), lack of discoverability (faculty wanted to be able to easily find repositories of OER, and confusing OER with digital resources (faculty were unaware of the difference between digital resources and OER). The top incentives identified in this analysis to overcome these barriers include student cost benefits (saving students money), student pedagogical benefits (faculty being able to make changes to OER to improve course content and instruction), and institutional support for the adoption of OER (whether in the form of course load reduction, curricular research assistance, or library support for finding and adopting OER).

Understanding that cost savings for students is identified as the greatest incentive for faculty that may motivate them to overcome adoption barriers, looking at how students use these saved finances is valuable.

This second report presents the results of a study conducted with students at a Virginia community college who took courses that used OER. At the end of the semester, students were asked to rate their perceptions of the OER quality and their level of engagement with OER as compared to traditional textbooks. Results indicate that a majority of students found the OER to be as good as or better than traditional textbooks in both quality and engagement. These results will be mentioned, but the main purpose of the study that we will discuss is the way in which students used the money saved by using OER in their courses. Many students indicated they used the money to reinvest in their education by paying tuition, purchasing materials for other courses, or taking additional courses; day-to-day expenses and savings were the next most common responses.

It is our hypothesis that should faculty be aware of the reinvestment of these finances into paying tuition and into other facets of students' education, they would be more motivated to overcome potential adoption barriers of OER.

avatar for Olga Belikov

Olga Belikov

Student, Brigham Young University

Jane Rosecrans

Professor of English, OER Curator, Reynolds Community College

Wednesday November 2, 2016 2:40pm - 3:05pm