OER at City Tech

Author: Cailean Cooney (Page 1 of 4)

Open Educational Resources Faculty Reading List

This is a special themed spinoff to our monthly New and Noteworthy posts.

This month we are sharing a curated list of OER related resources, commentary, and scholarship that may be of interest and even essential to faculty working with OER. Selections include some grounding texts, discussions of pedagogy and OER, access and equity, OER and policy, critiques of OER, and resources to connect faculty with research related to OER. All are openly licensed.

  • The OER Starter Kit Workbook, by Abby Elder and Stacy Katz, Manifold Press. (2020). License: CC BY
    Authors created this workbook to complement the OER Starter Kit. This is an organized and easy to follow text; useful for beginners and a good reference tool. It also includes a compilation of useful worksheets one can adopt.
  • A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students, edited by Elizabeth Mays, Rebus Community, 2017. License: CC BY
    “A handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials, or other Open Educational Resources.”
  • Accessibility Toolkit (2nd edition), by Amanda Coolidge, Sue Doner, Tara Robertson, and Josie Gray, BCCampus. (2018). License: CC BY
    A step-by-step toolkit for faculty, instructional designers, educational technologists, librarians, administrators, to create open textbooks that are accessible for all users.
  • Open Education and policy via the SPARC website (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). Site license: CC BY
    “SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design.” Part of this organization’s agenda touches on open education and political advocacy on a national and global level. Their website is a useful resource to explore some of the projects they advance: including Automatic Textbook Billing Contract Library, SPARC’s resource to help institutions examine the fine print behind “inclusive access” programs and the OER State Policy Resources, an OER State Policy Tracker.
  • Open education: walking a critical path by Catherin Cronin. (2020). License: CC BY. Chapter in Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice, published by Brill.
    “This chapter explores justifications for and movements toward critical approaches to open education.”
  • Open Research with the OER Hub Researcher Pack by Bea de los Arcos, Rob Farrow, Beck Pitt and Martin Weller, from the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University (OU) in the United Kingdom. (2016). License: CC BY-SA
    Resources for conducting research into the impact of open educational resources (OER) or open education.

Call for OER project proposals, AY 22-23

Dear City Tech Faculty,

Exciting news! New York State and CUNY have reinvested funds to support open educational resources (OER) at the University. Our short-term initiative, which many City Tech faculty have participated in from 2017-2022, has been re-upped with tax levy funds for this fiscal year 2022-2023. In short, we will continue to be able to fund and support faculty creation and use of OER. Research conducted at City Tech and other institutions shows a correlation between assigning zero-cost OER and positive student outcomes: higher retention and comparable or better grades. 

We invite proposals from new and returning faculty (find more guidance on faculty eligibility below)!

Goals for the OER initiative at City Tech:

  • Provide students with long-term access to course learning materials (before, during, and after the course runs).
  • Support active learning and effective online instruction.
  • Help achieve curricular consistency across multiple course sections.
  • Help achieve coherence between sequential courses in programs.
  • Provide instructors with ready to use teaching resources that can assist with flexible teaching/learning modalities.

Considerations for participating in OER funded work this academic year:

  • Course selection:
    • We encourage converting courses that are gateway, high enrollment, part of a course sequence, required courses for a major or minor, pathways, etc., interdisciplinary in nature, course curriculum that is underrepresented, or inadequately represented by existing textbooks on the market.
  • Priorities for funding OER projects:
    • Priority 1: Develop zero-cost OER for a course that previously required a paid textbook (this may include first time experimental pilots to assign OER in place of paid course materials).
    • Priority 2: Develop zero-cost OER for supplemental/ancillary teaching and learning materials (e.g., study guides, review modules, lessons, discussion questions, class activities, lecture outlines, writing assignments).
    • Priority 3: Make substantive updates to already assigned zero-cost OER (must be openly licensed materials authored by the applicant or another scholar).
    • Priority 4: Develop zero-cost OER for a course with a recommended text but that does not require paid materials.
  • Faculty eligibility:
  1. Full-time faculty that coordinate or regularly teach at least one section of a course, and have consulted with course / discipline coordinator and department chair.
  2. Part-time faculty on 1-3 year re-appointments, with the approval of course / discipline coordinator and department chair.

Note: there is potential for multiple faculty to collaborate on creating a zero-cost O.E.R.

  • Faculty commitments / compensation:
    • Faculty compensation will include project work and faculty development training: faculty stipends typically range from $1,300 – $5,000 (and a minimum of $500) depending on scope of work, and calculated on the average non-teaching adjunct hourly rate.
    • Faculty professional development will be conducted online / via Zoom.
    • Project work must be completed during the 2022-2023 academic year. For reference, the latest deadline for large-scope projects is June 15, 2023.

Please fill out a project proposal application by Thursday, September 15th, 2022. If you have any questions or things you’d like to discuss, please get in touch with OER Librarian, Cailean Cooney (ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu) or Interim Chief Librarian, Anne Leonard (aleonard@citytech.cuny.edu).  

Download a PDF version of this call.

To qualify as zero-cost OER, faculty can select course materials that are:

  1. Open educational resources that are Creative Commons (openly) licensed, including but not limited to open textbooks
  2. Public domain materials
  3. Freely available web resources that do not violate copyright
  4. Library-licensed digital resources, including articles and ebooks 

Faculty O.E.R. Work

Short feature on faculty created O.E.R. at the college

For many City Tech students, the high cost of textbooks may be an insurmountable obstacle. Students may not register–or may end up withdrawing or failing classes–because they cannot afford required materials. City Tech Faculty can reduce financial strain on students by designing their courses around Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Open Educational Resources are freely accessible teaching, learning, and research materials. Traditionally, textbooks are published under copyright, with strict limitations. But the OER model is more flexible; it uses Creative Commons licenses that allows educators to retain, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribe (the 5Rs) educational resources.

The 5 Rs:

  • Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  • Reuse – use original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource  
  • Revise – edit, adapt, and modify copy of the resource
  • Remix – combine original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  • Redistribute – share copies of original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others.

City Tech’s OER program is a CUNY success story. Since its launch in 2015, City Tech librarians have collaborated with professors to create course materials through the City Tech OpenLab, leading to the development of free and open resources for classes across the curriculum. City Tech professors, with library support, have created outstanding low-cost, high-quality OERs for students. 

Here are a few examples of OER materials created by faculty in our Social Science departments through the OER program. 

For US History Since 1865, Dr. Ryan McMillen uses The American Yawp, augmented with other materials. Instructions for the class on Reconstruction asks students to: “Read Chapter 15, Reconstruction…the text of the Mississippi Black CodesJourdon Anderson Writes His Former Master, 1865…Pick out one part of the Codes that strikes you as problematic, in that its main justification would be to criminalize the activities of former slaves in defending their freedom, and analyze it.”

Professor Diana Mincyte’s Environmental Sociology OER “examines the complex interactions between societies and the natural environments on which they depend. Special emphasis is placed on the link between the deepening ecological crisis and the operation of the capitalist socio-economic system.” For the first class, to introduce the subject, she assigns: The environment and society. The perfect conditions for coronavirus to emerge, Pangolins and pandemics: The real source of this crisis is human, not animal and What is Deep Ecology.

Dr. Jinwon Kim’s Urban Sociology is a course that encourages students to explore issues in Downtown Brooklyn, from gentrification to the new economy, and to use the neighborhood as a laboratory. Dr. Kim created her OER with links to open access readings, videos, and photo collections. For Class 4, Modernity and Modern Cities, he asks students to, “First, read The era of industrialization…in order to learn more about the historical background of modern cities. Second, read Industrial Manchester, 1844 in The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. Third, learn more about New York City context by reading Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York…Watch The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. See Photos provided by Museum of the City of New York.”

More information about the OER program at City Tech

Questions/comments? Contact Cailean Cooney, Assistant Professor, Library at: ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu.

Thank you to Adjunct Professor, Rachel Jones, of the Library, for writing this piece.

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