Monday, November 28, 2016

UK Libraries grant program available for Open Educational Resources

Educators at postsecondary institutions are promoting, adopting and creating open educational resources (OER) to enhance teaching and learning, as speakers noted at a panel discussion hosted by the University of Kentucky Libraries on Oct. 27. UK faculty interested in adopting or creating OER for their courses are invited to submit a proposal for UK Libraries’ Alternative Textbook Grant Program.

The OER proposal submission deadline is Dec. 23, 2016. For more information about the grant program, contact Adrian Ho, director of UK Libraries Digital Scholarship, or Mary Beth Thomson, senior associate dean of UK Libraries.

The UK Libraries' recent OER panel discussion, featured three speakers who approached the topic from different perspectives. Leila Salisbury, director of the University Press of Kentucky, provided an example of how a professor employed digital pedagogy to put together an openly licensed textbook in collaboration with her students. Salisbury also shared the professor’s advice in this regard. 

Jeff Gallant, program manager at Affordable Learning Georgia, discussed the benefits of OER in terms of teaching and learning. “OER embody what education should be all about: sharing and transformation,” Gallant said. “Open textbooks allow us to share our expertise and pedagogical styles with others, making the communication of this information more effective, affordable and often free. Using an open textbook in a course ensures that all students will have access to the materials they need on day one.”

Allison Soult, from UK Department of Chemistry, shared her insights and experience of teaching with OER. “Using OER for my class involved additional work up-front, but the process allowed me to develop a useful resource for my students. Assembling this ‘book’ pushed me to think about what, how and why I teach what I do in the course, which ultimately improved my teaching.” 

The event concluded with a moderated discussion among the speakers. Videos and slides of the presentations are now accessible via UKnowledge, UK’s institutional repository. 
“OER have gathered momentum in higher education in recent years,” said Mary Beth Thomson, senior associate dean of UK Libraries. “We are thankful that these three knowledgeable speakers provided the audience with an informative and inspiring overview of the OER movement.”

UK Libraries offers assistance with OER. Resources for finding OER are available online at this guide. Individuals interested can submit OER questions by e-mail or by contacting their academic liaisons at UK Libraries. 

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