Seminar Syllabus

This syllabus is a companion to the five seminar meetings this term.


OER Fellows will become knowledgeable about open educational resources (OER), principles of open pedagogy, and strategies to create usable and accessible OERs on the OpenLab. The Fellowship will cover copyright, Creative Commons licensing, resources to help locate discipline specific OERs, and strategies to generate cohesive and engaging course materials.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the Fellowship, participants will be able to:

  • Define open educational resources
  • Distinguish open educational materials with free materials
  • Understand copyright and Creative Commons licenses
  • Find, evaluate, and select learning materials for the OER course
  • Understand how accessibility, universal design, and instructional design best practices improve course materials
  • Implement strategies to incorporate dynamic pedagogical material including a variety of content formats (video, image, sound)


  • Complete all assignments prior to seminar meetings
  • Participate in group discussions and activities

Homework Assignments

*Due before each seminar meeting*

Seminar 1: O.E.R. Fundamentals – 9/25/20

For the first seminar meeting, please carefully read the 3 readings below and respond to each of the discussion prompts in our group google discussion doc.

  1. Read: An Introduction to Copyright (Approx. reading time: 7 mins)
    • Context: Before we discuss the meaning of the term “open educational resources,” we need to familiarize ourselves with copyright, a form of protection for creative expressions granted by the law. This is a content heavy reading with a good bit of intellectual property and licensing jargon (hold tight!). But knowing about copyright (for historical grounding and because it is current law) is essential for us to understand why and how educational materials do or don’t get shared, and more practically, what is ok to post publicly (openly) and what isn’t.
    • Framing question(s): What are some myths this reading busted for you? Are there areas where confusion remains about the information presented in this reading?
  2. Read: An Introduction to Open Educational Resources and the Fellowship with low stakes quiz to test your knowledge (Approx. completion time: 8-10 mins)
    • Context: This reading builds on the Intro to Copyright reading and talks more about how Creative Commons licensing is the real vehicles for being able to call learning materials “open educational resources.” It will also attempt to clarify / drill down how these terms, and the concepts underpinning them, will inform your project in a more practical sense.
    • Framing question(s): Have you encountered Creative Commons licenses before? What is the significance of being permitted to remix (make derivatives / adaptations) by 4 of the 6 types of Creative Commons licenses?
  3. Read: Hybrid Courses: the best of both worlds (or the worst)? by Jesse Rappaport (Approx. reading time: 2 mins)
    • Context: This is a really short piece, part of the Visible Pedagogy series, contributed to by faculty across CUNY. It is meant to get us in a reflective mindset about how we’ve taught before and how we will consider teaching while redesigning our courses to OER.
    • Framing question(s): What in this piece resonates with you about course design, regardless of teaching mode (f2f / online / hybrid)?

Seminar 2: Selecting resources for your O.E.R., Attribution, Licensing – 10/9/20

Please post homework responses on our group discussion doc.

    1. Read How a “Sultry” Statue of Liberty Cost the U.S. Post Office More Than $3.5 Million by Jason Daley, posted on (Approx. reading time: 2 mins)
      • Context: A former O.E.R. Fellow actually shared this piece as an example of how a lack of knowledge / attention to copyright can pervade across all domains, not to mention the consequences! Although the trouble the U.S.P.S. found itself in is not the same as our teaching settings, there are more parallels for instance when selecting images and getting rights clearance in your scholarly publishing (a book or journal article) and in other professional industry settings.
      • Question: Taking it one step further, how would you address the importance of basic copyright knowledge in a real world context that might resonate with your students?
    2. Read Embracing Radical Inclusivity: Practical Steps for Creating an Intersectional, Interventionist Syllabus by Barrie Gelles, posted on Visible Pedagogy (Approx. reading time: 12 mins)
      • Context: When we are not bound to commercial textbooks, it opens up the possibility of rethinking our courses and assigning resources that we otherwise might not have (different modalities, points of view, content, etc.).
      • Framing questions: What opportunities do you see in this? What are the possible downsides?
    3. Select 3-5 course materials from the resources listed below. Share a minimum of two resources in our group discussion doc as we’ll use them for our in-session activity. We strongly encourage you to use the Course outline template .docx (or make your own copy of the Google doc version) to keep a running list for your own records.
      1. Familiarize yourself with some of the resources available to find O.E.R. (Creative Commons licensed learning materials).
        1. Search each of these resources:
      2. Search for relevant library licensed digital materials:
        1. Articles / Databases:

Seminar 3: Accessibility and Building your Site on the OpenLab – 10/23/20

Please respond to readings #2 and #4 on our group discussion doc.

  1. Continue identifying and organizing course materials!
    Use good citation and linking practices and make use of the Course outline template .docx or make your own copy of the Google doc version
  2. Read the Beyond ADA compliance: the library as a place for all by JJ Poinke, published in the Urban Library Journal (Approx. reading time: 20-30 mins)
    Context: This article provides a solid overview of accessibility; while it’s positioned in the library world, it’s written for a broad audience and is meant to provide us with grounding in accessibility history, policy, and why it matters.
    Question: How does considering accessibility beyond institutional compliance inform your thinking? What does the concept of universal design offer that the A.D.A. cannot?
  3. Browse Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities from the NCES for some statistics on students with disabilities
  4. Read each section of the Introduction to Accessibility module by Bree Zuckerman (Approx. reading time: 10 mins)
    Context: This site outlines practical approaches to making course content widely usable and was designed specifically for us with the OpenLab platform in mind.
    Question(s): Think about current or previous course content and what might be considered inaccessible about it. Describe what is inaccessible and what can you do to make it accessible? Feel free to also share what strategies you currently have in to make course content accessible.

Seminar 4: Universal Design & Pedagogy – 11/13/20

  1. Aim to get to the half-way point (course outline wise) in identifying and organizing course materials! Use good citation and linking practices with the Course outline template .docx or make your own copy of the Google doc version
  2. Watch: Universal Design for Learning (U.D.L.) at a Glance video (Run time: 4:36)
  3. Read Video Captions Benefit Everyone by Morton Ann Gernsbacher, published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Seminar 5: Showcase  – 12/11/20

Showcase guidance forthcoming…

Meeting schedule

Seminar Date Time Location
1 9/25 10-12 Virtual / Zoom
2 10/9 10-12 Virtual / Zoom
3 10/23 10-12 Virtual / Zoom
4 11/13 10-12 Virtual / Zoom
5 12/11 10-12 Virtual / Zoom
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