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.

Open Education at the College of Staten Island

This post originally appeared on the College of Staten Island Library Newsletter and was written by Asst Professor & Instruction Librarian / OER Liaison Anne Hays

We are very excited to announce our campus’s role in the CUNY OER initiative. During the 2017-18 academic year, the College of Staten Island plans to convert 13 courses with 53 sections into zero cost classes using Open Educational Resources. This semester, the library has adopted open educational resources (OER) for all of its sections of LIB102, a credit-bearing course that teaches students research skills using the library. And next semester, courses in Biology, Economics, and ESL English will follow suit. We hope that this large coordinated effort to create and sustain zero cost classes for our students is merely the beginning of a larger campaign to transform the way our students experience college.

But let’s take a step back for a minute and talk about OER. “Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes” (Creative Commons). Textbooks are often prohibitively expensive for students—students may have to make the tough choice between spending hundreds of dollars on books for a single course, or attempting to learn without the book. The CSI Library purchases textbooks for a two-hour reserve checkout, making those readings technically free, but admittedly students cannot make notes in these copies, nor can they read them from home. An OER textbook is one that its author has published under an open license, which allows users to access the book for free (digitally), and allows educators to revise, retain, remix, reuse, and redistribute the work for free. OER imagines a world where high quality educational materials are free for students, libraries, and professors, removing that expense as a barrier to learning. And indeed, “Studies show that 93% of students who use OER do as well or better than those using traditional materials, since they have easy access to the content starting day one of the course” (SPARC).

Continue reading “Open Education at the College of Staten Island”

CUNY OER Update: LaGuardia Community College

Last Spring the LaGuardia Library launched a seminar, Designing Information Assignments for Literacy, which was funded with a 2014 Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries, from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The seminar, led by Professors Dianne Gordon Conyers and Alexandra Rojas, both of the Library, and Priscilla Stadler from the LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning, taught non-Library faculty how to integrate research into their assignments and the product was OER, so that others can share and modify their work.

The first cohort was 11 people and the current iteration of the seminar is underway. You can see the results of their work here: http://guides.laguardia.edu/oer. The work will also be added to CUNY Academic Works.


Browsing the assignments, you get a sense of the cross-discipline potential here. An American Music assignment can easily be reworked for other disciplines.