SCOOP: Open Education and Atla/
December 04, 2019
As a priority scholarly communication initiative for 2019-2020, Atla is turning its attention toward open education. To that end, the Atla Scholarly Communication Committee prepared and distributed a survey in October to gauge Atla member awareness, interest, and implementation regarding open education and open educational resources (OER). Below are some of the highlights and findings from that survey.
Findings from the Atla Survey on Open Education and OER
Forty-four Atla member institution representatives completed the survey, providing data and feedback on the current state of awareness, interest, and initiatives around open education issues at their respective campuses. Of those responding, 34% indicated that they were fairly knowledgeable about OER, but hadn’t done much work in the area while 50% indicated that they have limited or only some understanding about OER.
While nearly half of the responding institutions indicated that their faculty have expressed interest in the creation or adoption of OER, nearly 90% of respondents indicated that at the present time no individual or office at their campus has been designated a role in supporting open education, and more than 54% of respondents indicated that no open education activities have been undertaken at their campuses.
Several barriers were identified as predominantly impacting the development of open education activities at survey respondents’ campuses:
When questions from faculty are received about locating available OER, respondents most commonly utilize a search engine such as Google or existing open textbook libraries such as OpenStax to identify available OER. Survey respondents believe that open textbooks, reading lists, and other interactive learning objects would be the most desired types of OER at their institutions:
What Types of Open Resources Do You Think Would be Most Utilized at Your Institution?
The survey concluded with a request for suggestions of how Atla could help its members as librarians, and the faculty and students they serve, to learn more about open education and implement OER for their courses. The following suggestions were offered:
- Offer grants to support the creation of OER that have broad appeal or that cluster around theological perspectives and ideologies
- Create OER objects that individual institutions could adapt
- Assist with the identification of existing open textbooks and other OER that are highly relevant to theology curricula
- Education on the application of open education principles to seminaries and other theological education institutions
- Create short videos or infographics that can be adapted and reused at member institutions to educate faculty on OER as it applies to the study and teaching of theology and religion
Atla staff and the Scholarly Communication Committee are already at work in providing some of the suggested resources and opportunities. To promote open education and OER creation and adoption, Atla will be offering various professional development opportunities for its members. On December 10th, Atla Scholarly Communication Committee member and Duquesne University librarian Melody Diehl Detar will present a webinar on “Open Education Resources: From the Beginning.” We are also preparing a half-day pre-conference workshop on open education and OERs at the 2020 Atla Annual Conference in Detroit to be led by Regina Gong, Open Education Resources & Student Success Librarian at Michigan State University.
Recently, the updated and revised “Websites on Religion” was launched on Atla LibGuides, which is a good starting point for identifying openly available resources that can be utilized in teaching and research. We will also investigate ways that we can host OER in the fields of theology and religious studies on our open platforms such as the Atla Digital Library and fund OER creation through a grant program to support library-faculty partnership to develop textbooks or other learning objects. Stay tuned for further announcements about these and other opportunities!
In March 2018, the SCOOP dug into the A, B, C’s (and R’s) of OER. https://www.atla.com/blog/the-scoop-the-a-b-cs-and-rs-of-oer/
A 2018 article from EdSurge explores the growth of OER at religious colleges but the challenges of locating faith-based materials. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-10-24-oer-is-growing-at-religious-colleges-but-raises-unique-challenges
In November 2018, the open access book OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians was published. This book includes examples of how to facilitate conversations and foster the development of best practices for OER adoption and creation. https://commons.pacificu.edu/pup/3/
The SCOOP, Scholarly COmmunication and Open Publishing, is a monthly column published to inform Atla members of recent developments, new resources, or interesting stories from the realm of scholarly communication and open access publishing.
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