Affordable Access for Student Success: An OER Learning Community
Open educational resources (OERs) have flourished as institutions and educators respond to soaring textbook costs and the potential for teaching with customized, free online resources. To promote the adoption of OERs and other affordable materials that make an education at the University of Florida less expensive and more equitable, Affordable UF is seeking applicants for the Fall 2023/Spring 2024 OER Learning Community.
Five participants will earn a $1000 stipend to join facilitators and guest speakers from across disciplines in their efforts to make their courses as financially inclusive as possible by eliminating or substantially lowering course material costs. The emphasis of the community will be OER, which are learning materials that carry open licenses and allow anyone to freely read, share, and modify them. These permissions also enable instructors to adapt OER for greater cultural responsiveness and accessibility. The OER Learning Community is supported by the Center for Teaching Excellence in partnership with the UF Smathers Libraries, the UF Center for Instructional Training and Technology, and University Press of Florida. Experts from these units will work closely with participants throughout the program. External guest advisors will complement expertise available at UF.
If you have been interested in taking first steps to transitioning your course to free or low-cost materials but need support to do so, consider applying to this learning community.
About the Program
Learning Communities are peer-led groups of faculty, staff, and graduate students who engage in an active, collaborative, year–long program structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection. Learning communities also:
- Stimulate innovation and create experiential, collaborative learning environments
- Increase collaboration and make the best use of limited funding
- Provide a flexible professional development structure to support learning of any topic
- Increase communication and collaboration among faculty who, by the nature of their work in individual classrooms, are often isolated from colleagues
Over the course of the OER Learning Community, you will engage with the cohort to:
- Understand the spectrum of affordable learning materials available openly through UF Libraries Services, with an emphasis on OER
- Search for OER that may be relevant to the courses you teach in one or more repositories
- Evaluate course materials for basic accessibility best practices and cultural responsiveness; identify opportunities to enhance and customize these aspects of OER you find or develop
- Identify and interpret open licenses associated with OER created by others and those you wish to apply to your own materials
- Connect with both internal and external expertise to facilitate successful adoption and evaluation of OER
- Create an openly licensed learning object
- Develop an initial course map matching your course objectives to existing OER and other free and affordable material options
Attend all required meetings. Participants must attend all 8 required meetings and attend 75% of optional meetings. Facilitators or guests may decide with their group to attend a workshop in replacement of or in addition to the normal monthly meetings.
Create a sharable OER activity. One of the requirements for the learning community is to share something beyond the cohort in the spirit of actively contributing to the open education movement. This can take several forms, such as openly licensing a learning object (such as a syllabus, lesson plan, or module) or a proposed alternative.
Propose and construct your final project. Each member of the learning community should complete one of the final projects based on their own personal goals:
- A course map matching some of your course objectives to existing OER and other free and affordable material options
- A project roadmap that charts your course for adapting or developing new OER
Attend the wrap-up session. Each learning community member will present their final OER project at an event hosted by the UF Center for Teaching Excellence.
Acceptance into this FLC is by application only. The application period closes July 31, 2023.
Email Copyright and OER Librarian Perry Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) or eText Coordinator Micah Jenkins (email@example.com) with questions about the program.
Meet the facilitators
Copyright and OER Librarian, University Libraries
eTexts Coordinator, Center for Teaching Excellence
Meet the inaugural cohort
Center for Arts in Medicine
Microbiology & Cell Science
Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
English Language Institute