Like many academic libraries, our library has initiated several Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives across campus. However, outreach to include students in advocating to reduce their own textbook cost have not been successful at our library. Two librarians are developing a credit bearing course for the University Honors College entitled, “OER and Social Justice.” The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of Open Access and Open Educational Resources and the information ecology that can create barriers to access. Students will learn about the different types of Open Access and what Open Educational Resources are and the impact these have had in the classroom. We will cover the history of OA and OER in higher education, the benefits and pitfalls of open access publishing, and the impact the OA movement has had on equity in education internationally. The course will also cover OA journals and well as OA textbooks and the different publishing and economic models. The idea of students as advocates of OER initiatives across campuses is not new (Grush 2013), nor is the idea that reducing textbook cost is a matter of social justice. The traditional educational model where access to information is restricted is in conflict with social justice models (Slee 2010). Combining these two ideas into a credit bearing course is a new and different idea. Many students are interested social justice (Smith 2012) and many students struggle to afford the high cost of textbooks. By combining these ideas, we hope that students will come away from this course with a better understanding of OA and become informed advocates, not just for themselves, but for other students. We hope students will realize the potential for OER as a tool for social justice and advance the cause.
The course will run April 3 through June 9, 2017. We will discuss the topics we included, readings and assignments and the students pre-course assessment.
Grush, M. 2013, ‘Lane CC’s Award-Winning Faculty Development Program for OER Adoption’, Campus Technology. [2 December 2013].
Slee, R. 2010, ‘Social justice and the changing directions in educational research: the case of inclusive education’ International Journal of Inclusive Education vol.5, no 2-3, pp. 157-167.
Smith, M. 2012, ‘Social Justice Revival’, Inside Higher Ed. [1 January 2010].
Wiley, D. 2006, ‘On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource’
Initiatives in Higher Education’, OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. www.oecd.org/edu/oer.