In April of 2022, faculty members at UNF were invited to respond to a survey that asked for information and feedback about issues related to the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). OE Resources are educational materials (including texts, courses, audio, video, and more) that either exist in the public domain or allow users to freely retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (Creative Commons, 2020). Of the 117 faculty who responded to that survey, 57% (n = 67) reported an interest in exploring the creation of their own OE resources. This number includes 17% (n = 20) who said they were very likely to create their own OER materials.
In order to respond to this demand, UNF has adapted its OER Initiative to include new outlets for faculty to author their own OER content. We are now partnering with Pressbooks to provide a tool for faculty to be able to create their own OE Resources that can ultimately be used within their courses and provide students with free access to that content.
The question that this raises is: Why? Why would a faculty member want to author their own OER? We can acknowledge that most of us want to reduce the cost of education for students, whenever possible. So, why not just adopt or adapt already existing OE content? If you have ever searched for OE content before, you may know that there are several trends that faculty report. We suggest that these trends might serve as an answer as to why instructors might want to author their own OE Resources:
1. There is a lot of OE content out there, but not all of it is right for your course.
Many faculty report that there are several options for open texts that have the same title or topic as the course they teach, but the content is not the best fit for their course or their students. One reason for creating your own OE Resource is that it gives you the ability to create quality content that can be fine-tuned to meet the precise needs that exist in your course.
2. While some subjects have a plethora of open content, for others, there is nothing.
Some faculty report that certain subjects have no open resources available. In those instances, authoring an OE text allows you to meet demand and establish yourself as a relevant voice in your field.
3. Creating your own OE Resource can be used in the Promotion & Tenure process.
Faculty might also consider how their OER efforts can play a role in promotion and tenure. Open textbook authoring can contribute to both the research and teaching elements of the P&T process while also having the added benefit of reducing student costs.
If authoring your own OE Resources is something you would like to consider exploring, there are four things we recommend doing next:
- Consider signing up for one (or more) of the workshops that CIRT will offer during OE Week (March 6-10). These include a Panel Discussion where several UNF faculty will discuss efforts that they have undertaken to adopt and author OER into their courses. OE Week will also include a session on the use of Pressbooks to author your own content.
- Participate in the new OER Initiative in our summer cohort where you will receive support in authoring your own OE content and receive a $2,000 stipend for your efforts.
- If these suggestions seem overwhelming, consider reviewing an OE Resource to evaluate existing options by joining our Open Textbook Review Workshop.
- Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions, explore options, and find the right fit for you.