SCOOP: Supporting the Creation and Implementation of OERs in Religion and Theology/
July 01, 2022
We are just back from Atla Annual 2022 in Baltimore. In the weeks ahead, recordings of presentations will be made available to registered attendees. During last week’s conference, members of the Atla Scholarly Communication & Digital Initiatives Committee presented on OERs. Below is an excerpt from part of the presentation on “Supporting the Creation and Implementation of OERs in Religion and Theology.” It’s a great time to start thinking about creating and implementing an OER as the application for the Atla OER Grant Program is now open with applications due August 29th, 2022.
Five Steps to OER Creation
For many, creating OER may be a new task. Below are five steps, adapted from The OER Starter Kit, for OER creation.
- Assess the creator(s)’ scope and breadth of knowledge. At the start of your OER project, you should review not only your knowledge on the subject for which the OER will be created but also your understanding about OER creation best practices. Bring in outside subject matter experts and/or persons with OER experience to advise and participate in the creation of your OER.
- Evaluate existing resources to adapt and reuse. A major component of creating OERs is curation of existing resources that may be applicable to the OER you are creating. Be mindful of copyright status and existing licenses (e.g., Creative Commons licenses).
- Visualize the design of your OER. Determine what format or platform you will use for delivery of your OER. You may need to secure the services of others who will perform visual or graphic design work or provide other technological support.
- Develop any new content. Your OER may be wholly new written content, or it may require preparation of some additional instructional materials to collate existing resources into a cohesive whole.
- Publish and distribute your OER. This step includes creating export versions, archiving editable files for instructors who might wish to adapt and edit your work, and depositing the final project, including ancillary materials, in an open repository or other openly available sites where potential users can locate and download the project materials.
When creating OER, copyright analysis must always be part of the planning process, whether evaluating copyright status of existing resources or determining reuse rights of your own final project.
When evaluating existing resources for incorporation into the new OER, first seek out content that is either in the public domain or that has already been licensed for reuse such as through Creative Commons. Fair use does apply when incorporating copyrighted content into OER. There are several best practices to employ when reusing copyrighted material:
- Limit copyrighted content to essential materials that serve as objects of criticism, commentary, or illustration.
- Do not use copyrighted content that is merely supplemental or “ornamental.”
- Be prepared to explain pedagogical value or use of the copyrighted content incorporated into your OER.
- Select materials from a range of sources.
- Always provide attribution.
Other Important Considerations
Creators of OER should also consider the following when planning for and preparing their OER:
- Accessibility – whenever possible use open file formats for your final OER product, and at a minimum, make sure the content is compatible with screen readers or accessibility features of other software and accommodates assistive keyboard shortcuts.
- Adaptability – your final OER output should be openly licensed through Creative Commons or other licensing scheme for reuse and adaptation by others. Further, the content should not be so institution-specific that it cannot be reused by instructors at other institutions.
- Sustainability – although technology is always changing and platforms for delivery come and go, to the extent feasible publish your OER on a platform or in a format that has current technological support. Marketing and promotion to others is also an important component of sustainability.
- Diversity – when selecting content for your OER, it is crucial that creators include a variety of perspectives and that the final product accurately and respectfully present other cultures. To assist in evaluating whether the content is welcoming to people of other ethnicities, races, or cultural backgrounds, enlist reviewers to read through your OER prior to publishing and distributing it.
Atla OER Grant Program
The Atla OER Grant Program is now accepting applications through August 29, 2022. For full program details, please visit https://www.atla.com/member-benefits/atla-oer-grant-program/. Prospective applicants are encouraged to preview the application questions prior to applying and to contact us with any questions about eligibility, copyright, platform of delivery, or other matters impacting their proposed OER.
OER has been a regular SCOOP topic. Check out these past posts for more information about OERs:
- For Fair Use Week 2022, we took a deep dive into best practices for fair use in OER.
- Read up on more best practices for inclusive design with a focus on accessibility and diversity.
- Learn more on OER creation with this post from 2020.
- Are you brand new to OERs? Learn the basics in this SCOOP post.
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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