Want to know more about Open Education Resources? The CUNY Office of Library Services has just the opportunity for you:
CUNY’s Office of Library Services is sponsoring an online workshop designed to provide an overview of Open Education Resources (OER) for CUNY faculty looking to integrate OER into their classes.
This class is made up of four modules, plus a final project. Each module is made up of readings, videos and discussions. Each workshop section will be comprised of no more than 20 participants in order to foster in intimate forum to share OER work and get feedback from colleagues and the facilitator. The goal is to finish the workshop with a better understanding of OER and also to come away with some work that can be immediately integrated into classes.
The workshops will be entirely on line and last for a two week period requiring approximately 10 hours of work. The activities and assignments can be completed on a flexible schedule during the time period. To be eligible for this workshop, applicants must be teaching faculty scheduled to teach in the spring 2015 semester. Department chair and Chief Academic Officer sign-off will be required. Faculty successfully completing the workshop will receive compensation of 10 hours at the non-teaching adjunct rate for participation.
Now that the first batch of dissertations is available in Graduate Center Academic Works, the Graduate Center’s new open access institutional repository, students and faculty are once again wondering whether it’s better to make dissertations open access immediately or embargo them (keep them private, unavailable to readers and researchers) for a year or two or more.
The GC Library takes this issue seriously — in fact, so seriously that last spring we co-hosted “Share It Now or Save It For Later: Making Choices about Dissertations and Publishing,” an event that tackled the question of whether making a dissertation open access affects the author’s ability to publish the work as a book. For background information and relevant readings, see the handout distributed at the event.
Below are highlights from the speakers’ remarks:
Jill Cirasella (Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communications at the Graduate Center) introduced the moderator and co-sponsors.
Polly Thistlethwaite (Chief Librarian of the Graduate Center and moderator of the event) provided some context for the conversation, discussing student anxieties about releasing dissertations and announcing the arrival of the GC’s institutional repository.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association) discussed the difficulty of deciding what to do with a dissertation at “a moment of peak anxiety” but argued that “the thing that’s deposited might get somebody started being interested in the question that you’re working on, but it doesn’t detract from the desirability of that final, really polished well-thought-through project [i.e., a book based on the dissertation].”
Philip Leventhal (Editor for Literary Studies, Journalism, and U.S. History, Columbia University Press) discussed the economics of publishing authors’ first books and analyzed the differences between a dissertation and a first book. He described what he looks for in proposals for first books and concurred with Kathleen that a dissertation-based book is a “different entity” from the dissertation itself. Students and advisers will likely be comforted by his statement that “[i]n my time at Columbia, it’s never come up that we’ve decided not to publish a book because it was available online.”
Jerome Singerman (Senior Humanities Editor, University of Pennsylvania Press) sided with the embargo. He reminded the audience that university presses are subject to market forces, summarized historical changes in library purchasing patterns, and argued that the market for a dissertation-based book is smaller if the dissertation is available open access. He also discussed the role of approval plans in library book acquisitions. (For a contrasting picture of how dissertations factor into approval plans, see the reprinted message from Michael Zeoli from YBP, aka Yankee Book Peddler.)
Gregory Donovan (Assistant Professor, Sociology and Urban Studies, Saint Peter’s University [now Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University] and Graduate Center alumnus) discussed why and how he made his dissertation open access. He began with a reminder that a graduate’s first goal is getting a job, which requires getting your name and your work known — which is facilitated by making your work open access. (Please note that the Graduate Center has deactivated the ProQuest paid open access option that Gregory referred to. Students now make their dissertation open access simply by choosing not to embargo it in Academic Works.)
Colleen Eren (Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, LaGuardia Community College and Graduate Center alumna) reported that the fact that she embargoed her dissertation did not, in the end, affect the interest of publishers in her work. Her closing line summarized the view of most of the panel: “[t]he lesson of my experience is that perhaps embargoing is not as big a deal as it’s being blown up to be because the final product that you’re going to negotiate with the editor is going to be so vastly different that it perhaps won’t make that much of a difference.”
Jane Palmquist of Brooklyn College’s Music department spoke about her online class that makes use of freely available material. The class is hosted here in the Commons, but right now, it’s only accessible to members of the CUNY Academic Commons.
Faculty continue to be interested in the idea of OER, but based on questions and conversations heard at the conference, the issue isn’t whether to proceed, so much as it’s how to. One of the easiest ways to get started is to take the short, self-paced OER101 class, which covers everything from navigating OER repositories to copyright to uploading your own content. OER isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s good to start slowly, maybe by transitioning a few assignments into something more open, and then expanding upon that gradually over a few semesters, until eventually, your costly textbook has been replaced by a customized, engaging, freely-accessible class.