OER at the 2017 CUNY IT Conference

This post was contributed by Ann Fiddler, Open Education Librarian at CUNY’s Office of Library Services.

With $4 million dollars in state funding, CUNY OER initiatives are bustling along, creating and changing the OER conversation across CUNY.

All that’s happening has resulted in a slew of OER presentations at this year’s CUNY IT conference on November 30th and December 1st (also check out the full program, which includes an opening keynote from Safiya Umoja Noble).

The OLS copyright committee will also be hosting a pre-conference session about educating faculty on copyright as part of OER initiatives. The session will take place on November 30th from 10-11:30 in the John Jay library classroom. Please RSVP.

About the CUNY OER Initiatives

Currently with 100% participation by eligible CUNY campuses, the face of OER at CUNY is taking shape through CUNY’s OER initiatives. To date, 260 courses are proposed to be converted (all with multiple sections). There’s been a brisk pace of workshops held in a variety of forms; campuses are building on their prior models, Lumen Learning is conducting workshops for all to attend, and we are utilizing our own home-grown experts to go out and share their wisdom and experiences with other schools. Particular thanks go out to Jean Amaral from BMCC and Cailean Cooney from City Tech.

Olena Zhadko from Lehman and Antonia Levy and Susan Ko from SPS are readying their successful online OER workshop given this past spring for sharing on the commons so all campuses can avail themselves of it. An OLS Webinar series kicked off this week with Nicole Finkbeiner from OpenStax who spoke about the history of OpenStax at Rice University. Future topics will include copyright and OER, and equity and OER.

Work continues with the Office of the University Registrar to identify courses that will be coded with the “zero textbook cost” course attribute. In the works is a short video to instruct students how to search with this attribute. It will be disseminated through CUNY news channels, a student email blast, and social media. Also in development are informational one-sheets, screen promos, and bookmarks—irony noted that they’ll be promoting electronic resources.

Planning for assessment of campus projects is also taking shape. We all know that the cost savings to students is a no-brainer and reason alone to forge ahead. We further hope to show real evidence that OER can alter the course of student success and completion. We are also documenting faculty tales of a revolution in pedagogical change and invigoration.

I hope that those reading this will come out to the CUNY IT Conference and lend support. There are many ways to become involved even if you’re not formally part of any proposal. Thanks to everyone who has made this possible. The CUNY community has shown its true spirit.

Stay tuned for more to come.

OER Presentations and Workshops at the 2017 CUNY IT Conference

Below are descriptions of OER-related sessions at this year’s CUNY IT Conference. Time and location details are subject to change, so please be sure to double-check the full conference agenda.

Using Interactive OER in Teaching International Criminal Justice

Thursday, Nov. 30th, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions I

In this workshop, the participants are introduced to open educational resources (OERs) developed under the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). These materials can be used in teaching International Criminal Justice, Criminology, International Relations and other social science courses. The participants will also learn about innovative teaching techniques that can be used by instructors to promote project-based and policy-applied learning.

Pedagogy and OER Development: A Faculty Driven Approach

Thursday, Nov. 30th, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions I

Although Zero Cost Textbook courses and textbook replacement are an important part of the CUNY OER initiatives, OERs also represent an opportunity to re-examine approaches to teaching and learning in general. As we move forward into the second semester of the OER initiatives, how can we structure our support for faculty teaching Zero Cost Textbook courses so that they can invigorate their pedagogy and push past simply replacing their textbooks?

Are You Listening? Perspectives on Supporting Inclusive Pedagogy

Thursday, Nov. 30th, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions I

As faculty, IT, CTL, librarians and Accessibility Services, how do we provide barrier-free environments? What do Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and open education resources mean for those with different roles in supporting inclusive pedagogies? With LaGuardia’s new Designing for All project team, this session offers opportunities to share, learn and help build the CUNY-wide movement towards becoming an inclusive learning environment, where every student truly feels welcomed.

Beyond Cost Savings: Access and Engagement with OER

Thursday, Nov. 30th, 2:15pm – Concurrent Sessions II

Research on CUNY students’ experiences accessing and using traditional curricular materials and OER reveals that OER facilitate students’ participation in their courses through improved access. Students note the benefits of learning and access more than saving money, and the convenience of OER enables students to more effectively manage their time. Learning about the benefits students perceive beyond cost savings allows us to leverage OER affordances for increased learning.

Pedagogy of Open Educational Resources: A Hands-On Workshop

Friday, December 1st, 9:30am – Concurrent Sessions I

In this interactive session, we’ll use backward design to move from learning outcomes to OER, and learn what OERs are, where to find them and how to decipher the Creative Commons licenses. We’ll also explore other no-cost options available through the library and on the web. You’ll leave with OERs in hand and be ready to replace some or all of your course materials with zero-cost options. Participants are encouraged to BYOD.

OER Sustainable Scale Up: Faculty Development as Key Strategy

Friday, December 1st, 9:30am – Concurrent Sessions I

It’s never easy to find the right date or time for faculty professional development. As a result, the office of Faculty Development and Instructional Technology at CUNY SPS and the office of Online Education at Lehman College, with the support of the Lehman Library, offered a two-week fully online, asynchronous workshop on OER in June 2017. In this panel, you will get a tour of the workshop and hear from the program developers, facilitators and participants.

Curate, Adopt, Create: OER at LaGuardia Community College

Friday, December 1st, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions II

This panel will explore LaGuardia’s past, present and future plans to adopt and create OERs. Three key factors are used to measure OER success, which have informed efforts at LaGuardia: reducing textbook prices, increasing access to materials and improving student outcomes. This panel will offer ideas on how to create, adopt and curate OERs based upon the experiences of the Library and Math program.

Use of “MyOpenMath” to Develop “Zero Textbook Cost” Section

Friday, December 1st, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions II

In the fall of 2016, the speaker participated in the initiative to develop a “zero textbook cost” section for MAT 100. The section is approved by the Lumen Learning. In this presentation, the speaker will demonstrate the use of “MyOpenMath” software in developing the course and some pros and cons of using the software. After the presentation, the audience will have some basic ideas about the platform and will be able to start the process of developing their own course using the software.

NY State OER Initiative: Large Scale OER Implementation Across CUNY

Friday, December 1st, 1pm – Concurrent Sessions II

CUNY was recently funded $4,000,000 from New York State to establish, support and enhance ongoing OER initiatives throughout CUNY. This initiative seeks to engage faculty in the redesign of courses through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources. Centrally, the Office of Library Services is providing system-wide coordination in collaboration with campuses. This presentation will discuss the practicalities of the initiative and its many working components

Open Pedagogy/Open Resources: Diversifying and Democratizing OER

Friday, December 1st, 2:15pm – Concurrent Sessions III

Open educational resources require help for faculty experimentation. Graduate Center students teaching CUNY courses are a source of creative curricular design. Their pedagogy is enhanced by GC centers’ research, innovation and support. To explore challenges and opportunities in creating and teaching OERs, this panel discusses the American Social History Project’s online multimedia textbook; the Digital Scholarship Lab’s open-source Manifold publishing platform; and the Teaching and Learning Center’s workshops and projects.

Open Educational Resources and the Online Common Core

Friday, December 1st, 2:15pm – Concurrent Sessions III

Different approaches for bringing OER to the Common Core with the goal of creating a z-degree-friendly, fully-online General Education “program.” Courses discussed include Digital Information, Film and Culture, Music, Sociology and Writing at Work. OER strategies include curated collections, textbooks from OpenStax and the Open Textbook Network, library databases such as Kanopy and the use of Spotify.

Editor’s Choice: A Look Back at Open Access Week 2017

This excerpt by Margaret Heller originally appeared in the ACRL TechConnect Blog.

I was chatting with a friend who is an economist recently, and he was wondering about how open access worked in other disciplines, since he was used to all papers being released as working papers before being published in traditional journals. I contrast this conversation with another where someone in a very different discipline who was concerned that putting even a summary of research could constitute prior publication. Given this wide disparity between disciplines, we will always struggle with widely casting a message about green open access. But I firmly believe that there are individuals within all disciplines who will be excited about open access, and that they will get at least some of their colleagues on board–or perhaps their graduate students. These people may be located in the interdisciplinary side, with one foot in a more preprint-friendly discipline. For instance, the bioethicists in the theology department, or the history of science people in the history department. And even the most well-meaning people forget to make their work open access, so making it as easy as possible while not making it so easy that people don’t know why they would do it–make sure there are still avenues for conversation.

Read the original.

Public Scholars Under Attack

At a recent book talk and discussion of public scholarship, the subject of fear came up in relation to the risks of forgoing traditional publishing venues in favor of open access alternatives. Jessie Daniels, a sociologist and expert on race and technology, responded with this reminder:

It’s usually not the thing that you’re afraid of that will get you.

As we delved deeper into the implications (and risks) of public scholarship, it became apparent that the really frightening thing that academics–particularly academics who engage with audiences or form online communities on social media platforms–have to contend with are trolls. I was marginally aware of trolls and even know a few librarians who had been harassed online to the extent that they had quit using social media. However, I was surprised to learn that online trolls who engage in misogyny, threats, and hate-speech are not just rogue individuals with personal vendettas. Trolls operate as part of a “well funded, systematic attack on progressive academic ideals”  and exploit institutional tendencies to distance themselves from controversy. In her article, Faculty Under AttackSociologist Abby L. Ferber describes how “the Right [uses] social media to purposefully advance their political agenda” and how strategic attacks on faculty often pay off since a public outcry, even a coordinated one coming from trolls, might put faculty jobs at risk, erode academic freedom, and even implicitly control academic curricula. Despite the increasing prevalence of these coordinated attacks, conversations about trolling haven’t received the attention they should in scholarly literature or institutional environments, likely because the preferred discourse of trolls “is heavily laced with expletives, profanity and explicit imagery of sexual violence: it is calculated to offend, it is often difficult and disturbing to read, and it falls well outside the norms of what is usually considered ‘civil’ academic discourse.”

What, then, should public scholars do to mitigate risks associated with sharing their work?

How should our institutions respond to attacks on members of their faculty?

Abby Farber suggests that faculty should:

  • Talk to local and campus police.
  • Forward threatening messages to police and federal authorities.
  • Save every message.
  • Deny trolls the response they seek.
  • Seek support from their community.

And that institutions should:

  • Be proactive, not reactive. Have a protocol in place.
  • Put safety first. Then ask faculty members what they need.
  • Publicly condemn the form of the attack itself. Support civil dialogue by naming abuse and harassment for what it is.
  • Provide faculty members with resources for help and information about what they might experience next.
  • Honor professors’ wishes about being kept in the loop or not.
  • Do not individualize the problem.

Perhaps the best way to begin is to have conversations with your colleagues, support those who are targeted, and work collectively to raise institutional awareness of this important issue.

Further Reading: 

Campbell, E. (2017, September). ” Apparently Being a Self-Obsessed C** t Is Now Academically Lauded”: Experiencing Twitter Trolling of Autoethnographers. In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 18, No. 3).

Daniels, J. (2017, October). “Twitter and White Supremacy, a Love Story.” Dame Magazine. https://www.damemagazine.com/2017/10/19/twitter-and-white-supremacy-love-story

Ferber, A. L. (2017). Faculty Under Attack. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations39, 37-42.

Jane, E. A. (2014). ‘Back to the kitchen, cunt’: speaking the unspeakable about online misogyny. Continuum28(4), 558-570.