Leveraging IT and Library Partnerships for OER Faculty Development across Institutions | EDUCAUSE
peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-08-05
"Textbooks are expensive. For many years, increases in the prices of textbooks have significantly outpaced inflation. An article from 2018 pegged the average cost per textbook in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system at $125.
Footnote1 Such prices dissuade some students from buying required texts if they believe they can get by without the texts, compromising their ability to fully participate and succeed in the course. Open educational resources (OER) offer low- or no-cost alternatives to traditional textbooks, and in many cases OER also serve as more current and more valuable learning resources than conventional texts.
Persuading faculty to adopt OER for their courses, however, has proven to be an ongoing challenge. The work of transitioning to OER is not trivial, and many faculty are hesitant to commit the time and energy needed to find—or create—OER that suit their courses and their teaching style. Professional development programs have been successful at encouraging faculty to adopt OER, but these programs often prove difficult to maintain for a variety of reasons, including unsustainable funding approaches, lack of faculty interest, and overworked support staff.Footnote2
Partnerships across departments is one way of sharing the financial or personnel burden of faculty development programming. A faculty development cohort on OER was established at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) in 2016 and continued in subsequent academic years. The program was supported with grant funding for the 2017–18 academic year and with funds provided by the IT Solutions department in the other academic years. The program consisted of cohorts of faculty interested in textbook affordability and OER; they participated in learning sessions and consultations to adopt OER in at least one of their courses. Cohorts met for a series of in-person content delivery sessions over the academic year and worked with an instructional designer to choose and implement OER or other low-cost course materials. A total of twenty university faculty participated in the three cohorts, and student textbook savings from those faculty members' courses totaled $100,000 by the 2019 academic year. Faculty received a modest stipend for this work...."