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Open Educational Resources at SXU

Saint Xavier University is exploring ways to reduce costs for students, and one area is exploring the use of OER materials to either supplement or replace expensive textbooks. The options range from complete replacement of commercial resources, the use of already purchased library materials, the use of free OER materials, and/or textbook affordability approaches utilizing hybrid options to develop affordable learning resources.


The links below describe some of these possibilities and our actions and explorations.

SXU actions and explorations

SXU Initiatives:

The intention: To test the effectiveness of commercial online textbook capabilities, and to explore implementing within CANVAS less expensive alternatives such as Open Educational Resources and locally created teaching materials.

Steps:

  1. Create a Review Team to explore the possibilities and requirements for utilizing alternatives to many expensive textbooks.
  2. Develop a support team to assist faculty in exploring  the effectiveness of  commercial etextbook  materials.
  3. Develop a support team to assist faculty in exploring and developing levels of alternative teaching materials.
  4. Prepare a report of findings for use by others in exploring migrations to less expensive textbook-style teaching options.

Specific Efforts

Test 1: explored enhanced effectiveness through online textbook options vs other approaches

Method: explore with faculty members the effectiveness of new self-testing options in terms of improved quality and speed of understanding and enhanced classroom participation (e.g. topics coverage in hybrid classes).

Resources:

  • subsidize e-textbooks explorations (matrix of features, testing enhanced options),
  • observe changes in learning experiences (speed and depth of comprehension), and
  • implement and explore impacts of self-testing on classroom teaching and learning behaviors.

Test 2: adopting Open Educational Resources as free alternatives to pay materials

Method: guide and assist faculty with incorporating OER materials as alternatives to commercial textbook and course packet materials.

Resources:

  • hire students to document existing OER materials.
  • survey faculty on existing activities.
  • hire students/staff to document and assist faculty in identifying and embedding OER materials into their CANVAS class spaces.

Test 3: develop local (Open Educational Resources) learning objects as free alternatives to pay materials

Method: assist faculty in exploring OER best practices and developing local materials as alternatives to commercial textbook and course packet materials.

Resources:

  • perform survey to determine faculty familiarity and activity with alternative materials (May, 2016).
  • hold public sessions to highlight present and potential activities (Convocation, Professional Development Day, Technology Day).
  • hire students/staff to assist faculty in developing free (perhaps OER?) materials into their CANVAS class spaces.

 

Textbook Cost Reduction and Enhancement Initiative -- campus Review Team

The Library and CIDAT are coordinating a Steering Committee of Faculty members interested in joining a campus-wide conversation and initiative to explore alternatives to expensive textbooks. The Committee was formed during the Fall 2015 semester.

Initial Members:

  • Lesli Blair, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
  • Shannon Simonovich, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
  • Tatiana C. Tatum, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
  • Kathleen McInerney, Associate Professor, School of Education
  • Miriam Alfano, Clinical Asst Prof Lecturer, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • David Stern, Library (Co-Chair)
  • Chris Zakrzewski, CIDAT (Co-Chair)

Current Committee Members:

  • Tatiana C. Tatum, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
  • Kathleen McInerney, Associate Professor, School of Education
  • Miriam Alfano, Clinical Asst Prof Lecturer, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • David Stern, Library (Co-Chair)

 

Freshman OER Challenge

The campus has embarked upon an effort to reduce costs and enhance pedagogy by replacing expensive commercial textbooks with alternative materials whenever possible. The use of OER materials, embedding of already purchased library materials (as permalinks to specific articles and/or embedded links to pre-created searches of our databases), or the creation of local teaching materials, will allow for more customization of teaching materials and better testing. The first target is to review all alternative options, and revise as many Spring 2019 freshman courses as possible. Future plans are to extend this approach to other courses. 

 

Textbook Cost Reduction and Enhancement Initiative -- Faculty Summer grants

The Library and CIDAT have established and distributed grants to faculty proposals that prepare us to better explore alternatives to expensive textbooks.

  • The first grant was to create a matrix of functions and costs across the major electronic textbook platforms. (Lesli Blair, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropolgy, and Criminal Justice; $2,500 )
  • The second grant was to develop various iPad apps that supplement the existing and planned electronic One-to-One textbook support model in the School of Nursing. (Shannon Simonovich, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing; $2,500)
  • The third grant was to develop OER materials for the Genetics 300 course to replace the commercial textbook and to develop a local Lab Manual.  (Tatiana Tatum-Parker, Associate Professor, Biology; $2,000)
  • The fourth grant was to purchase podcasting equipment to replace a textbook in an Illinois history course. (Graham Peck, Professor, History; $1,000)

 

Open Educational Resources Manual

The Library and CIDAT are developing a manual to support the use and creation of OER materials.

SXU will utilize existing OER materials, and when desirable we will create and deposit our locally created materials into a combination of OER sites, society sites, and the new local SXU Institutional Repository (that will hold branded intellectual property of many types). 

A description of the types of tools included within OER platforms, and suggestions of appropriate tools for specific teaching needs, such as self-testing, quizzes, visualizations, streaming materials, and group collaboration spaces can be found on the CIDAT site

                          Faculty Toolkit

 

Example OER platforms:

Free and public domain teaching materials are reviewed and coordinated by initiatives such as:

  • Open Education Resources Commons,
  • OER Consortium - Much like an OER Commons overlay. Much easier to navigate, but with fewer materials and fewer specific search result filters.
  • MERLOT - Sophisticated collection of training tools and OER resources made with professors in mind. Very specific in terms of subjects with content in each. Example of the Biology SIG support site.
  • Open Textbook Library - Open Textbook Network consortium of selected OER materials. (our catalog)
  • Opentextbookstore - List of books free to use and download, offers hard copies for around 15 dollars per book.
  • OpenStax - Free textbooks available in web format, PDF, and iTunes book store. Each book contains resources specifically to be used alongside the textbook such as labs and worksheets.
  • Another recent initiative is from Lumen Learning, a group dedicated to facilitating broad, successful adoption of OER.
  • February 2016 announcement that Amazon is entering the OER realm.

Many public domain teaching materials are not found in OER sites, but instead are deposited into professional society web portals. Be sure to look under the Teacher sections of such association web sites. 

Other repositories of teaching materials concentrate on media materials, for example:

 

We are a member of the Open Textbook Network which promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks through their advocacy efforts and the establishment of the Open Textbook Library.

 

Authoring Tools

OER authoring tools:

See the Open Pedagogy Notebook website for examples of innovative teaching techniques and tools.

See the free materials found in the Bookshare catalog (for alternative formats).

Many authoring tools can be loaded onto individual workstations or laptops; some are free and others may require licenses. Some tools may be found on CIDAT workstations, on dedicated CIDAT media workstations, or in the CIDAT production facilities.

The Faculty Toolkit site contains descriptions of the types of tools included within OER platforms, and suggestions of appropriate tools for specific teaching needs, such as self-testing, quizzes, visualizations, streaming materials, and group collaboration spaces.


Some example tools include:

 

OpenAuthor

The OER’s official resource creator. Offers various tags to specify what your content offers, as well as a user interface similar to that of Google Docs. Simple and elegant.

(Video tutorial Included in link)

https://www.oercommons.org/open-author-about

 

SXU CIDAT tools:

Adobe Creative Cloud:

  • Photoshop: Software that allows the editing, manipulation, and composing with tools. Allows for beginners to get the hang of basic tools but allows for more complex techniques techniques for advanced users.
  • Lightroom: Stellar photography software to process images in burst, through the means of editing, photo group editing, and many more tools.
  • Illustrator: A vector graphics image editor perfect not only for freehand drawing, but the creation of flyers and ads with easy resizing tools while still retaining the same quality and structure. Combined with a drawing tablet, Illustrator allows for animation, and note taking.
  • InDesign: Book/Magazine designer and editor. Allows for page by page creation and customizability, with options to export in a variety of formats relating to pdf,ebook, etc. Great for those wishing to create and publish an ebook.
  • Premiere Pro: Premiere is a program that goes alongside video creation, allowing the cutting, organizing, and frame effects to your videos. Specialized to be use as the final stage of the editing process
  • After Effects: Unlike Premiere, After Effects focuses on the rendering of visual effects and graphics to spice up your video or project. While not made to be a frame-by-frame solution, it makes it up with a catalog of many different trinkets and visual widgets.
  • DreamWeaver: A sophisticated web design tool made to enhance the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get experience. Enhanced tools allows for dynamic editing for mobile alongside larger screens.
 

Camtasia -- quickly record your webcam or screen, engage your viewers with a variety of effects, and easily share your videos to anyone, anywhere.

Captivate -- create professional looking and instructionally sound content and testing modules using question slides, branching logic, etc.

Other highlighted tools:

    Within CANVAS

  • Big Blue Button for collaboration - Interactive teaching and collaboration.
    BigBlueButton supports multiple audio and video sharing, presentations with extended whiteboard capabilities - such as a pointer, zooming and drawing - public and private chat, desktop sharing, integrated VoIP using FreeSWITCH, and support for presentation of PDF documents and Microsoft Office documents. Moreover, users may enter the conference in one of two roles: viewer or moderator.
  • Respondus StudyMate extended testing tools
    StudyMate helps students "master the basics" of course material through learning activities, self-assessments, and games. A dozen activities – such as flash cards, crosswords and quizzes – engage students with course content in an individualized way. Students access StudyMate activities using computers, smartphones and tablets.

Other campus tools:

  • SnagIt
  • iBooks Author
  • Panopto lecture capture
  • CANVAS testing
  • Media Studio live recording
  • video equipment remote recording
  • Sharestream player
  • iUniversity
  • YouTube

 

Media editing

  • QuickTime - Advanced media player built by Apple that works flawlessly on Macs. This player has tools for slow motion of video, on site subtitle translation, and allows for many file format compatibility.
  • iMovie - Although iMovie is free with every Mac computer, it is still a great tool for quick and easy video creating, with a large focus on make slideshow videos of pictures gathered. Although it offers no where near the toolset of Premiere, it still supports tools such as frame editing, and quirky effects to make your video pop.
    • Available in CIDAT Lounge
  • GarageBand - GarageBand is a software based musical band to accommodate your music needs. Whether beginner to the software or an expert musician, Garageband can help add instrumentals to your tracks, and even allows the use of your own instruments connect to your computer and play using that. Can export to many different file types.
    • Available on Mac and iPad App Store/Available in CIDAT Lounge
  • Photoshop: Software that allows the editing, manipulation, and composing with tools. Allows for beginners to get the hang of basic tools but allows for more complex techniques techniques for advanced users.
    • Available in CIDAT Lounge
  • Lightroom: Stellar photography software to process images in burst, through the means of editing, photo group editing, and many more tools.
    • Available in CIDAT Lounge
  • Premiere Pro: Premiere is a program that goes alongside video creation, allowing the cutting, organizing, and frame effects to your videos. Specialized to be use as the final stage of the editing process
    • Available in CIDAT Lounge
  • After Effects: Unlike Premiere, After Effects focuses on the rendering of visual effects and graphics to spice up your video or project. While not made to be a frame-by-frame solution, it makes it up with a catalog of many different trinkets and visual widgets.
    • Available in CIDAT Lounge

Video Captioning and Transcription

  • Youtube: Youtube offers a auto-captioning feature that allows any video to get automated captions through speech recognition. Although the captioning has a 70-80% chance of getting the word correct when captioning, especially if the speaker has a different dialect or accent. Using this, you can go back and edit the text of the auto captioning to correct any mistakes.
  • Quick Subtitle: Quick Subtitle is an open source software that allows the configuration of subtitles without the need of aggresively going back and forth on your mouse and keyboard. The software can export subtitle files into multiple formats as well as make them compatible for DVD playback
  • Amara: Amare is a online captioning tool made specifically for youtube videos. Although a web based tool, it is incredibly advanced with a modern layout and easy navigation. Once you paste in a youtube video, all you have to do is pick a language and start syncing up a transcript.

 

Note taking

    • Evernote is note-taking software in the cloud, with options for private and shared notebooks. Users can take text notes, and upload files to attach them to notes. Evernote has built-in OCR for images with printed or handwritten text. A premium account allows access to notebooks offline, as well as more storage and embedded PDF search.
 

Desired Authoring Tools

Third party integration: publisher testing to gradebook

Desired options:

  • Gaming
  • SoftChalk - http://softchalk.com/ $495 for educators; get cloud storage, ebook publishing, lesson creation with class management for students, instant sharing; Learning Difficulty: Intermediate/ Time to Learn: 4-5 Hours 
  • Storify https://storify.com/ Storify is a way to tell stories using social media, including photos and videos. You can search multiple social networks from one place, drag individual elements into your timeline, and create a story. You can re-order the elements and also add text to give context to your readers. There are built in features to notify your followers of a story update. Learning Difficulty: Easy / Time to Learn: 1-2 Hours / Needed:Social Media accounts to connect and share stories
  • Echo360 - http://echo360.com/   Echo360 creates a complete classroom alternative, making the professor stream lectures from anywhere in the world which can be recorded and played at any time. This program allows examinations and polls within the lectures to promote active learning and interactivity. Allows for accessibility for all learning disabilities through this as well. Offers accurate analytics and statistics on the progress of the class.
  • Camtasia - https://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html  Camtasia offers features similar to Panopto, but enhances the experience with more interactivity. This program offers the ability to edit screen captured videos with effects, in video links, quizzes, themes, backgrounds and more. Offers the ability to share videos quickly as well to social media outlets.

Scholarly Communications considerations

The adoption and/or creation of OER materials raises many questions about the scholarly communication network. The new types of use allowed under revised intellectual property rules means authors and teachers need to be aware of a variety of sharing options and the long-term implications of such activities.

Creative Commons -- a system of permissions and licenses that allow others to utilize materials for a continuum of purposes, with varying degrees of modification and manipulation possibilities. All levels require some type of recognition of the original materials and author(s).

Copyright and Fair Use -- legally recognized practices that allow for the one-time spontaneous use of materials for teaching purposes.

Recognition -- a need for the effort involved in creating and sharing such materials to be included in tenure and promotion processes.

OER-Access -- a community of accessible technology experts, advocates, and users coordinating to build an online community and collection of open education resources that can improve universal learning by facilitating the contribution and sharing of accessible technology information, expertise, and accessible online teaching and learning materials.

A list of articles, reports, and websites to keep up-to-date on OER:  Steven Bell's OER Links

 

 

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