Learning, Teaching, and Instructional Design Librarian

My OER projectKari D. Weaver

Waterloo Library's Online Learning Object Repository 
Along with the members, past and present, of the Library's Instructional Design Team, I have a whole repository of OER materials. We affectionately call it the OLOR.

What prompted you to become involved in OER?

I have been interested in OER since before coming to the University of Waterloo. I was previously a faculty member at a regional campus in the University of South Carolina system where I worked with a large number of first-generation, non-traditional, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds who received U.S. government funding to support their education. Working with these students, I found OER to meet many of their needs and/or fill gaps between when classes started and their funding became available for them to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Being a librarian, I'm also a huge believer in the value of sustained, lifelong learning, something I believe OER can greatly enhance.

What excites you most about your OER project?

I've worked on many OER projects over the years, but the one I'm currently most excited about is funded project through the eCampus Ontario VLS grant initiative to create interactive, module-based lessons on academic integrity specifically for STEM students. This project was a massive collaboration across units, including the Office of Academic Integrity, the Student Success Office, and the Library, and across institutions. I was part of the core team who wrote the content and my incredible Instructional Design Team at the Library oversaw custom graphic design, custom coding, layout, supplementary translation, and accessibility testing. While it was absolutely thrilling to see the entire project come together, what excites me most is that it's the first project of its kind to incorporate real examples of the academic integrity questions and concerns for STEM students. The project is also available in French and English, a new aspect of OER for me that was an illuminating and exciting learning experience.

A lot of instructors are hesitant about OER. Do you share those hesitations? How do you address them?

Though I know many people are hesitant about OER, my experience is that those same people are already using open resources - from open access readings to openly licensed videos or images - to support and enhance their teaching. People often equate the OER movement with textbooks alone. I address this by focusing on what instructors need and highlighting a range of options, including OER material.

Can other instructors interested in OER reach out to you?

Yes, at kdweaver@uwaterloo.ca.

University of Waterloo

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