Open Educational Resources (OER) Activity

I am engaged on the local and national level in conversations related to open educational resources (OERs), including open textbooks.

Pilot Project: Supporting Student Success in ENGN0030 through OER supplemental course material.
The Brown University Library is working with the professors of an introductory engineering course to explore how open educational resources (OERs) might have a high-impact on the learning success of students in the ENGN0030 course. The focus on the project is to, as much as is possible, identify OERs which fully follow the 5R guidelines (retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute), but the project also includes content that is licensed under a variety of Creative Commons licenses.

By identifying and evaluating OERs related to curriculum bottlenecks for students, we  support an approach to entry-level STEM courses to support student learning. This project is co-led with John Kromer, Physical Sciences Librarian at Brown University.

Fall 2016
Engineering student assembles list of open resources for each of the topics covered in the courses.

Spring 2017
The resources will be vetted by a team of Engineering students. This process ensures subject matter and course expertise are considered in the selection of the OERs for this course. Additionally, survey data from students about the course textbook will be reviewed and open textbook content evaluated.

Summer 2017
Collaborate with course faculty to design OERs into the Fall 2017 offering of ENGN0030.

Fall 2017
Run the course with the supplemental OER materials and evaluate student success.

The project also provides a layer of information literacy skills for the Student Assistants working on this project, namely:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally


Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative

As Brown’s representative on the RI Open Textbook Steering Committee, I am engaged with colleges and universities on open textbook initiatives being undertaken across the state. On 9/28/2016, Governor Gina Riamondo launched Rhode Island’s Open Textbook Initiative which seeks to reduce textbook costs by students by $5 million per year. As a member of the Initiative’s Steering Committee, the Brown University Library will work with libraries in Rhode Island and beyond on increasing the use of open licensed textbooks. Librarians at Brown are eager to work with Brown faculty to identify relevant open licensed teaching materials that may prove beneficial to students in a given course. These open educational resources might include freely accessible, open textbooks, articles, data, online course modules or other media as well as course assessment materials. Partners in the project include the Open Textbook Network, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and the Right to Research Coalition.