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Meeting from May 11, 2022

Published onMay 26, 2022
Meeting from May 11, 2022

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11:00 AM

Welcome: Themes for 2022-2023 - Curt and Peter

(recording only for note taking/summary)


Suggested pre-meeting music: (a great idea to pay musicians to perform pre-meeting music)

11:15 AM

Introductions - 1 minute 

Attendee list

  1. Alexia Hudson-Ward

  2. Angela Debarger

  3. Cable Green

  4. Cailyn Nagle

  5. Clarissa West-White

  6. Fox Harrell

  7. Gerry Hanley

  8. James Glapa-Grossklag 

  9. Jami Mathewson

  10. Jeff Ubois

  11. John Mohr

  12. Kaitlyn Donovan

  13. Krishna Rajagopal

  14. Lisa Petrides

  15. Maria Feith

  16. Mark McBride

  17. Mark Graham

  18. Monique Earl-Lewis

  19. Nick Lindsey

  20. Norman Bier

  21. Peter Suber

  22. Rachel Brooke

  23. Richard Sebastian

  24. Robbie Melton

  25. Ross Mounce

  26. Sam Klein

  27. Sarah Hansen

  28. Veronica McEachin

  29. Willem Van Valkenburg


  1. Tom Smith

  2. Yvonne Ng

  3. Curt Newton

  4. Peter Kaufman

  5. Phil Sandy

11:30 AM


Robbie Melton, Tennessee State University

Gerry Hanley, MERLOT-SkillsCommons

  • The HBCU OER partnership with MERLOT was driven by the need to address the rising cost of textbooks and by the gaps within OER content addressing underserved populations. OER was presented as the solution for improving student learning, diversifying content for course, reducing student costs, and closing cultural gaps.

  • The success of their efforts required leadership buy-in from the President, Provost, Deans and Department Chairs, to support and reinforce the OER efforts.

  • The HBCU created the HBCU Affordable Learning Community Portal with MERLOT, which houses a collection of free OERs in Africana, African American, and Black Studies programs and brings the Africana, African American, and Black Studies content and context into all disciplines. They included key metadata in all of the resources to enhance discoverability on their culturally contextualized content.

  • They were able to save over $83K at Tennessee State U and STEM content was included. They were then to double to cost savings from the initial OER creation pilot within a Fall and Spring term.

  • They also have Fall 2021 faculty and students about OER attitudes and usefulness survey data to support their efforts.

Discussion Question: At the very beginning in building campus awareness, even before you ran the pilots, what were one or two things you did to raise campus awareness like? What might be a good starting place for us, bringing it to a Community that is fairly inexperienced in teaching?

  • The first pitch to the President included the potential cost savings for students, couched as having a cure for students to be ready for their first day of class by providing them materials. 

Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

11:50 AM

Community Colleges Update

James Glapa-Grossklag, College of the Canyons
Richard Sebastian, Achieving the Dream

  • Major efforts are being taken to address awareness and adoption of OER - British Columbia, California, Colorado, New York, Minnesota, Ohio and Tennessee are at various stages of adopting new funding programs and grants. Federally investment in OER has shown up with the US DoE investment in textbook programs and release of an Open licensing “Playbook” for Federal Agencies

  • Future discussion is shifting from how to increase cost savings to how OER can support DEI and inclusivity. One example is the Open for Anti Racism program (OFAR). We are also seeing momentum in building a framework for inclusive teaching to operationalize student agency, classroom culture and other dimensions.

  • We are seeing adoption of the guided pathways movement, whose aim is to streamline pathways for students through institutions. 

  • Various reports on OER have been released such as the ATD OER Report and Bay View Analytics report on OER.

Discussion Question: How do we reframe the sense of “preciousness” some content creators feel about their work, to more open licensing and encouraging adaptations and localization of the original content?

  • Students don’t come to campus for the content, they come for the engagement (students, faculty, instructors) as a “wraparound” that provides the real value - an argument for open sharing of content.

Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

12:10 PM

Libraries, Open Access, and OER

Lisa Petrides, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME)

Alexia Hudson-Ward, MIT Libraries

Mark McBride, SUNY System Administration

Lisa Petrides, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME): 

  • Main effort is building library infrastructure across the country by connecting all libraries together, sharing metadata, and tackling the issue of duplication of resources while sharing contextual information around a resource and how it’s used in a context/ancillary materials.

  • ISKME is working with community colleges and k12 districts and higher ed library consortium to develop capacity across institutions as a system-wide approach. SUNY and Texas have invested millions in these efforts and California is about to do the same.

  • Clarification: Meaning of inclusive access = commercial publisher’s response to the affordability question around content. Publishers will sell a one rate fee and students can access all the content. This is not truly OER because there are fees and restrictions and there are politics around content/pedagogy ownership. Open access and open source have different meaning.

Alexia, MIT Libraries: 

  • MIT Library policies regarding OA. 

  • Fundamentally, we are deeply committed to ensuring OA/open scholarship principles that align with the Institute’s Framework and how we view the current state and future state of OA as crucial to supporting the information ecosystem and DEI principles.

  • Covid illuminated the necessity for more interconnectivity and infrastructure for OA materials, research and data to be created and sustained.

  • Don’t want to lose the opportunities in relation to scaling around what the sustaining infrastructures look like in support of OA, OERs, open data and open scholarship.

Mark, SUNY System Administration: 

  • SUNY has made significant investment in OER ($4 million annually starting in 2017), primarily targeting the first two years of college and gateway courses, high enrollment general education courses.

  • They’ve shifted away from discussing content as driving the curriculum, such as buying a resource or having an open textbook, and now lead their efforts with high touch faculty development services. These efforts are focusing the discussions around digital learning and the implementation of digital courseware featured on 

  • For many upper graduate courses and graduate level courses, SUNY is infusing open education practices into our faculty development discussions as the goal continues to focus away from the content drives the courses, but the pedagogy drives the course.

Discussion Questions: 

What is the state of play of coupling the energy around open textbooks for intro courses versus the open access scholarly literature in more advanced studies? How might we combine and build upon the shared interests of these two seemingly separate tracks?

  • Some members agreed that we are doing poorly. For community colleges, there are no formal integration or guidelines for leveraging materials published in open access (OA) although OA is more valuable from a cost-wise perspective.

  • UNESCO has two recommendations around open knowledge. One recommendation on OER and recently on Open Science → which references the OER recommendation. This signals the importance of opening up scientific educational resources. 

  • Creative Commons has launched a 4-year campaign for open access research and data about climate change and preserving biodiversity.  Main argument about working on these challenges is that in order to solve these global complex challenges, the research scientific knowledge must be open. Also looking to open up other knowledge, including educational resources, software, hardware, the code to run climate simulations.

  • Noted was issues with content types - articles, books, dissertations, data sets and from OER. There are significant considerations with copyright or economic drivers. For example, a successful textbook can be extremely lucrative, in contrast to a monograph. There is also the issue with different file formats and the licenses that allow these content to be adaptable.

How do we increase the incentives and rewards? Noting that OER is oppositional to much of what institutions and colleagues value as part of the Academy. 

  • We need to transform people's interest and rewards but also the recognition that leads to rewards faculty seek. For example if OER is a tenorable activity, more faculty would do it.

  • One small change → make the bookstore aware to not request textbook orders, but to include a notification that the professor is using OER. This is systemic change that affects the culture of the Academy and Institution.

  • Ask different levels of engagement to leverage and move OER forward.

Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

12:40 PM

Publishing and OER

Nick Lindsay, MIT Press

Mark Graham, Internet Archive

Nick Lindsay, MIT Press

  • MIT Press launched “Rapid Reviews: Covid 19” - Open Access Overlay Journal publishing covid-19 research  to accelerate open access peer reviewed resources and prevent dissemination of false or misleading news.

  • MIT Press also launched “Direct to Open” or “D2O” - A sustainable Incentivized Library Collective Action Model designed to utilize a tiered fee structure for libraries to buy into backfile access, essentially cost sharing for licensing large amounts of content for public usage.

Mark Graham, Internet Archive

  • Major focuses are interlibrary loan fulfillment through Rapid ILL and a push towards fixing broken links to sustain open information

  • Efforts to digitize publications result in 3000+ new books per day, with a specific project to digitize 20000 books cited in Ukrainian Wikipedia, all to be made available through controlled digital lending.

  • Another current focus for digitizing is on Russian, Ukrainian television - moving to combat controlled messaging through geographic boundaries (including searching and indexing.)

  • One future focus will be exploring the sale of Ebooks - going against the traditional model of licensing or renting e-books.

Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

1:00 PM

OER and the Distributed Web

Kaitlin Donovan, Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web

Kaitlin Donovan, Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web

  • Movement to decentralize originates from awareness of overdependence on AWS servers (Amazon Web Services) which centralize storage and server runs in specific geographic locations with limited backup. This focuses control and safekeeping responsibilities in the hands of very few and allows them to decide protections for mass amounts of content.

  • Decentralized storage is a peer-to-peer network, meaning that information can be stored across multiple places by multiple people to avoid a single point of failure and prevent link rot.

  • Major advantages of decentralized storage are that it is cost effective, more redundant, and can build protections for users not seen in traditional storage ecosystems. 

  • FFDW’s project partner, Internet Archive, will be hosting an upcoming camp on decentralization.

  • Filecoin has opened up 2.65 million dollars in funding for the purposes of accelerating, building, and communicating the benefits of open, decentralized technologies to a wider audience. Applications for this funding will be due on June 21.

Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

1:20 PM

Next Gen MIT OCW + Building from Access to Equity

Curt Newton, MIT OpenCourseWare

Krishna Rajagopal, MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee

Sarah Hansen, MIT Open Learning


  • Showed the NextGeneration of OCW website which is now mobile friendly. Content is rebuilt from the ground up for better presentation in the search. The hope is to make it more accessible for all learners, educators, and other OER channels like MERLOT and OER Commons to disseminate content in a more effective way. 

  • OCW wants to move beyond open access to building educational equity.


  • OCW NextGeneration program includes making it easier for MIT faculty to move their materials to OCW’s platform. More than 2,000 instructors have added their content.

  • The strength, and limitation, of OCW is that what it shares is materials from MIT’s classrooms, materials developed by MIT instructors from which MIT students have learned. There are many people in the world whose context, or whose prior educational attainment, mean that they are less able to learn from OCW materials. OCW achieves the goal of offering access to MIT learning materials articulated at its founding. To do our part toward advancing educational equity, which is a higher goal, we need collaborations across the broader OER ecosystem. We need faculty at other institutions drawing from OCW and from their own and other resources to build their own OER materials, integrated into their curricula and optimized to advance the learning of their students, and then we need the cross-links so that many more people can find points of entry into the web of OER materials that work for them, and paths that advance their own learning.


  • OCW is developing a program to promote educational equity that builds on the belief that we need everyone everywhere to solve global challenges which in some ways requires open education access, though we know that access does not mean equity.

  • Open Educational Practices (OEP) have the potential to promote equity, inclusivity, and effective problem solving i.e. students as knowledge creators, culturally relevant practices.

  • We seek collaborations with open advocates who have expertise in leveraging OEP to promote equity. We need to learn from everyone in the ecosystem, especially those in this group.

  • Preparation activities for these collaborations include:

    • redesigning our OCW Educator landing page (OCW Educator is a portal for instructors that encourages open advocates), 

    • creating and sharing a webinar on getting started with OER, 

    • connecting with MIT librarians to begin conversations about promoting OEP 

    • providing mirror copies of the OCW site to be hosted locally in bandwidth constrained areas, and 

    • hiring an OCW community engagement specialist to focus on this important collaborative work. Connect with Sarah Hansen ([email protected]) on any candidates.


  • What are the cultural/political barriers to creating OER?

    • For smaller institutions with limited resources, faculty must be incentivized to do this work/buy out faculty time, or create opportunities for faculty to engage in this work over the summer, and faculty committees to articulate how these activities support tenure track positions. Creation and distribution processes should be made as easy as possible.

    • Creating OER should be recognized as a scholarly activity.

    • There is less skepticism in community colleges for OER.

    • Pain points for community colleges is the publishing aspect because there is a lack of expertise.

    • We need recognition for the OER produced but what are the bodies that we have to go through to actually get there. Teachers’ unions? Professor unions? Academic senates? Departments? Must become organizers and activists. 

    • For some community college faculty, recognition is important but time is more important. Some educators weren't looking to develop their own content, but wanted something out of the box like what publishers offer. While doctoral institutions were more interested in controlling the curriculum entirely. The P&T portion seemed to be of more interest to the research institutions rather than community colleges. Different approaches to different audiences.

    • One main challenge is how to prepare scholar teachers for the future. Educators need to have skills in library science, instructional design, and technology. Consequently the expertise to execute effective teaching is lacking. Universities need to change how they prepare teachers. They are also expected to be effective deliverers of new ideas, skills, and practices.

    • Cultural barriers: (1) “not invented here” (2) incentive structures don't support sharing (e.g., many P&T committees frown on publishing in OA Journals), (3) my value is what I create solo - Herbert Simon quote (from OLI): “Improvement in Post Secondary Education will require converting teaching from a ‘solo sport’ to a community based research activity.”

    • We need an open ed professional society w/ early-career support, that also helps bridge any gaps in publishing outlets for good-looking reusable outputs.

1:40 PM


Related Resources (suggested from the chat)

2:00 PM

Next steps and meeting close

Peter B. Kaufman, MIT Open Learning

Curt Newton, MIT OpenCourseWare

Thematic three areas of opportunity for collaboration:

  • Open textbook/OER/OA combination and ways to couple that more effectively in institutions.

  • The need for faculty incentives for publishing and using OER to raise the profile and esteem of these resources, and tangible cost savings for students and learners. The incredible depth of knowledge of everyone in this field and how sharing this experience could help others interested or currently working through documentation or presentation at conferences. (OE Conference call for proposals is due 5/27.)

Open Questions: 

  • How do we put some of what we’ve cultivated into practice? For example, taking OER materials and creating a book. Once we demonstrate the modeling and product, faculty will follow, engage. (Monique). How do we execute the discussion In different ways to demonstrate to colleagues?

    • Value on note comparison and different ways of producing products.

    • Consider OE Global conference (hybrid)

NOTE: Reconvene in September. Perhaps hybrid. Would encourage cross collaboration within this group.  See the complete chat.

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