Becoming an OER Advocate

Photo of group of faculty at a large desk

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Research and practice show us the benefits of embracing OER. When an institution introduces OER into the curriculum, we see how students are able to access content on the day classes begin or earlier, which allows them to engage in courses more rapidly and readily.

We see how instructors can benefit from increased sharing and collaboration with peers, and from the freedom to adapt and repurpose content without legal barriers. We see new, collaborative approaches to teaching and learning, and a wider variety of peer reviewed material that can enhance the curriculum.

We see how institutions can increase their institutional reputation and attract students through the promotion of OER use, and incentives for faculty to adopt, adapt, create and publish OER.

So, how can we advocate to a wider audience? How can we motivate other faculty to consider OER? How do we remove any barriers that may make it difficult for other faculty to make that transition?

A big part of effective advocacy is developing an effective elevator pitch – a quick, personalized take on why OER matters that you can share in brief moments you have one-on-one with colleagues or members of campus leadership. (Those passionate about expanding OER adoption at their school have been known to stalk the campus coffee shop for just such opportunities!)

The following brief video of Cable Green from Creative Commons, recorded by Florida Virtual Campus, demonstrates an effective elevator pitch to draw from.

The CARE Framework for OER Stewardship

The CARE framework was established to guide faculty and institutions that currently use OER to help grow the OER community in a mindful and scalable way. Co-written by Lisa Petrides, founder and CEO of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME); Douglas Levin, founder and president of the consultancy firm EdTech Strategies; and C. Edward Watson, chief information officer at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the CARE framework offers clear guidance on OER stewardship.

The framework is based on a common commitment to practices that serve to demonstrate their duty of care to the broader OER movement:

CARE framework diagramPetrides, L., Levin, D., and Watson, C.E. “The Care Framework for OER Stewardship” CC BY-SA, 2018.

Contribute. OER stewards actively contribute to efforts, whether financially or via in-kind contributions, to advance the awareness, improvement, and distribution of OER.

Attribute. OER stewards practice conspicuous attribution, ensuring that all who create or remix OER are properly and clearly credited for their contributions.

Release. OER stewards ensure OER can be released and used beyond the course and platform in which it was created or delivered.

Empower. OER stewards are inclusive and strive to meet the diverse needs of all learners, including by supporting the participation of new and non-traditional voices in OER creation and adoption.

The values expressed by the CARE Framework support a hopeful vision for the future of OER and education, positively impacting not only issues of access and affordability, but also the seemingly intractable issues of equity and inclusion.

Explore the CARE Framework

Build a Team of OER Advocates

The OER community is growing quickly, and OER advocacy groups are collaborative and welcoming places for anyone interested in learning more about, and/or promoting OER and open pedagogy.

A variety of other professional development opportunities are available to help your team feel comfortable in this advocacy work. Examples range from the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, the Open Textbook Network Certificate in OER Librarianship, and of course this SUNY OER Community Course series.

A successful OER program can benefit from a campus point person, such as a coordinator. This person serves as the primary contact for faculty, administration, instructional designers, and the technical support team, and also serves as the campus liaison for all other stakeholders.

A campus OER coordinator may also be responsible for:

  • Recruiting advocates to assist with a campus-wide OER implementation plan
  • Working with the library, instructional designers, and technology support in locating, storing, and maintaining resources
  • Working with campus printing service and bookstore to provide on-demand OER print options

More to Explore

ATI 2018 Advocacy Keynote
This keynote presentation (58 minutes) from Karen Cangialosi provides great insight into OER advocacy.

Creative Commons CC BY License ImageUnless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a
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The content in this course is adapted from the following works: