Attention, CUNY Faculty: Get Paid to Learn about Open Educational Resources (OER)!

"Global Open Educational Resources Logo" by Jonathasmello - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Global Open Educational Resources Logo” by JonathasmelloOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

CUNY’s Office of Library Services just announced an exciting (and paid!) opportunity for full-time and part-time faculty to learn about open educational resources (OER), which include open access textbooks and other freely available, online instructional materials:

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.

Open content and open access textbooks are instructional resources that can be used, reused, often remixed and customized under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others while ensuring authors retain copyright to their work. (Read more here.)

OER present an alternative to the high cost of textbooks for students. OER are freely available and distributable course materials. For this workshop the focus will be on OER materials that are:

  • Available at no cost to faculty and to students
  • Can be modified by faculty
  • Can be redistributed by faculty with changes to the original OER work.

Faculty can choose pre-existing materials, just as they do with traditional textbooks, but they can reconfigure content as they see fit, pulling elements of one text into elements of a different one, even rewriting sections, if the faculty member wishes.

OER are not just textbook material. They can include anything from entire course shells, to syllabi, to assignments, to presentations.

For students, OER means less money spent on course materials and course materials that are specifically tailored to the work of their professor. Instead of forcing a textbook into a pedagogical structure, the textbook and course materials are driven by individual pedagogy.

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.

Click here for registration.

Questions? Please contact: Ann Fiddler at Ann.Fiddler@cuny.edu or 646-664-8060.

Dissertation Dilemma: To Embargo or Not to Embargo?

(Déjà vu? This post is a very slight reworking of a post by Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz that appeared yesterday on the Graduate Center Library blog.)

fork in road
Photo is © Daniel Oines, used under a
Creative Commons Attribution license.

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.”

They’re Here! Dissertations & Theses Now in Academic Works

(Déjà vu? This post is a very slight reworking of a post I wrote yesterday for the Graduate Center Library blog.)

sellie cover
Title page for the thesis of Alycia Sellie (GC librarian and OA@CUNY blogger). Academic Works auto-generates title pages for all PDFs in the repository.

They’re here! All Graduate Center dissertations and theses from 2014 (thus far) are now in Graduate Center Academic Works, the Graduate Center’s new open access institutional repository. (Institutional repositories for the other CUNY campuses are coming soon!)

Some of the dissertations and theses are open access (i.e., freely available) now, and the others will become open access at the end of the author’s chosen embargo period (generally six months, one year, or two years).

Browse this incredible batch of intellectual output by department or en masse. Or scan a few of these works (all of them already open access), which I’ve cherry-picked for having especially engaging, curiosity-sparking titles:

The dissertations and theses of October graduates will appear in Academic Works soon. And moving forward, all theses and dissertations will appear shortly after each graduation.

Added benefit of going open access: If a thesis or dissertation (or any other work) is open access in Academic Works, the author will receive monthly readership reports detailing how often the work has been downloaded, what search terms led readers to the work, etc. (And I’ve already heard from 2014 graduates who are surprised and delighted by how much their dissertation or thesis has been downloaded!) So, not only does going open access help you find a broader audience and make a greater impact — it also helps you see and track that impact!