Peer Reviewed OER in Academic Works

Open textbooks are the rock stars of OER (open educational resources). They can save students significant amounts of money, and the adoption and creation of open textbooks attract financial support from our Governor here in New York. But when it comes time to put textbook learning into practice in accordance with college goals, assignments come into play. The Assessment Leadership Team (ALT) at LaGuardia Community College collected OER at the assignment level to create a peer reviewed library of assignments exemplifying the College’s Core Competencies and Communication Abilities that reflect the College’s collective vision for student learning. Called the Learning Matters Assignment Library (LMAL), this collection launched in October 2017. It supports faculty assignment development and encourages reflection on this process.

ALT’s Assignment Library leaders created a submission and peer-review process for assignments, many of which emerge from seminars held by the College’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Each assignment is reviewed by a faculty member in the discipline who focuses on how the assignment meets the core competency and communication ability it aligns with as well as the course’s learning objectives. The assignment creator receives this feedback and makes revisions as appropriate. Faculty with assignments accepted into the Assignment Library can use these as college contributions on their annual evaluations. This can help junior faculty on the road to promotion and tenure.

ALT also chose CUNY Academic Works, CUNY’s institutional repository, to house the Assignment Library. ALT leaders collaborated with the College’s Metadata Librarian and the University’s Scholarly Communications Librarian to develop a workflow for collecting metadata and posting assignments to a curated subsection within LaGuardia OER on Academic Works. Each assignment carries a Creative Commons license selected by the author and is available online for reuse, distribution, and more. And people are using these assignments. As of June 8, the Learning Matters Assignment Library has seen 1,122 downloads in 2018 with around 30% of those coming from outside the United States.

The Learning Matters Assignment Library now contains 25 assignments across a range of academic disciplines, from physical therapy and biology to composition and theater. It can be found at shortlib.org/s/assignmentlibrary or by browsing to LaGuardia’s OER section in Academic Works and clicking on the Learning Matters Assignment Library link. ALT is considering expanding the LMAL in future to include different kinds of materials, so stay tuned.

–  Elizabeth Jardine, Library Media Resources Center, LaGuardia Community College

This blog post is based on a presentation given at the NEC OER Summit in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 31, 2018.

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