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. Continue reading “OER at the 2017 CUNY IT Conference”

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.