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”

Editor’s Choice: A Look Back at Open Access Week 2017

This excerpt by Margaret Heller originally appeared in the ACRL TechConnect Blog.

I was chatting with a friend who is an economist recently, and he was wondering about how open access worked in other disciplines, since he was used to all papers being released as working papers before being published in traditional journals. I contrast this conversation with another where someone in a very different discipline who was concerned that putting even a summary of research could constitute prior publication. Given this wide disparity between disciplines, we will always struggle with widely casting a message about green open access. But I firmly believe that there are individuals within all disciplines who will be excited about open access, and that they will get at least some of their colleagues on board–or perhaps their graduate students. These people may be located in the interdisciplinary side, with one foot in a more preprint-friendly discipline. For instance, the bioethicists in the theology department, or the history of science people in the history department. And even the most well-meaning people forget to make their work open access, so making it as easy as possible while not making it so easy that people don’t know why they would do it–make sure there are still avenues for conversation.

Read the original.

Public Scholars Under Attack

At a recent book talk and discussion of public scholarship, the subject of fear came up in relation to the risks of forgoing traditional publishing venues in favor of open access alternatives. Jessie Daniels, a sociologist and expert on race and technology, responded with this reminder:

It’s usually not the thing that you’re afraid of that will get you.

As we delved deeper into the implications (and risks) of public scholarship, it became apparent that the really frightening thing that academics–particularly academics who engage with audiences or form online communities on social media platforms–have to contend with are trolls. I was marginally aware of trolls and even know a few librarians who had been harassed online to the extent that they had quit using social media. However, I was surprised to learn that online trolls who engage in misogyny, threats, and hate-speech are not just rogue individuals with personal vendettas. Trolls operate as part of a “well funded, systematic attack on progressive academic ideals”  and exploit institutional tendencies to distance themselves from controversy. In her article, Faculty Under AttackSociologist Abby L. Ferber describes how “the Right [uses] social media to purposefully advance their political agenda” and how strategic attacks on faculty often pay off since a public outcry, even a coordinated one coming from trolls, might put faculty jobs at risk, erode academic freedom, and even implicitly control academic curricula. Despite the increasing prevalence of these coordinated attacks, conversations about trolling haven’t received the attention they should in scholarly literature or institutional environments, likely because the preferred discourse of trolls “is heavily laced with expletives, profanity and explicit imagery of sexual violence: it is calculated to offend, it is often difficult and disturbing to read, and it falls well outside the norms of what is usually considered ‘civil’ academic discourse.”

What, then, should public scholars do to mitigate risks associated with sharing their work?

How should our institutions respond to attacks on members of their faculty?

Abby Farber suggests that faculty should:

  • Talk to local and campus police.
  • Forward threatening messages to police and federal authorities.
  • Save every message.
  • Deny trolls the response they seek.
  • Seek support from their community.

And that institutions should:

  • Be proactive, not reactive. Have a protocol in place.
  • Put safety first. Then ask faculty members what they need.
  • Publicly condemn the form of the attack itself. Support civil dialogue by naming abuse and harassment for what it is.
  • Provide faculty members with resources for help and information about what they might experience next.
  • Honor professors’ wishes about being kept in the loop or not.
  • Do not individualize the problem.

Perhaps the best way to begin is to have conversations with your colleagues, support those who are targeted, and work collectively to raise institutional awareness of this important issue.

Further Reading: 

Campbell, E. (2017, September). ” Apparently Being a Self-Obsessed C** t Is Now Academically Lauded”: Experiencing Twitter Trolling of Autoethnographers. In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 18, No. 3).

Daniels, J. (2017, October). “Twitter and White Supremacy, a Love Story.” Dame Magazine. https://www.damemagazine.com/2017/10/19/twitter-and-white-supremacy-love-story

Ferber, A. L. (2017). Faculty Under Attack. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations39, 37-42.

Jane, E. A. (2014). ‘Back to the kitchen, cunt’: speaking the unspeakable about online misogyny. Continuum28(4), 558-570.