Open Education Week (March 7 – 11, 2016)

openedweekThis week, the DePaul University Library and the DePaul Student Government Association (SGA) invite you to join colleagues from around the world in celebrating Open Education Week (March 7 – 11, 2016).

“Open education” refers to the free and open sharing of educational resources, tools, and practices among student and scholars committed to using technology to provide access to information and to learning opportunities. Open education depends on the availability of open educational resources (OERs), which can include videos, podcasts, lesson plans, learning objects, tutorials, textbooks, or entire courses, all designed to be used to supplement or replace traditional educational resources, e.g., textbooks. According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, these resources represent “high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge.”

The DePaul University Library has provided access to a number of OERs in recent years, and highlighted the use of OERs in college teaching in a 2014 blog post written in conjunction with the presentation by Jose Antonio Bowen (Teaching Naked) to the DePaul University Teaching and Learning Conference. More recently, the library and DePaul SGA have come together to plan a long-term effort to work with faculty to highlight the use of OERs, including open textbooks, as a means of addressing concerns about affordability of higher education and sustainability initiatives at the university.

Massimo Di Pierro, Professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media’s School of Computing, has described how he and his colleagues employ OERs to supplement traditional course materials and, in some cases, to replace them. In Professor Di Pierro’s case, he has published books under a Creative Commons license, and has published recent versions of his award-winning Python manual (web2py) in an open format following its initial publication as a traditional text by a commercial publisher. Professor Di Pierro’s commitment to open access publishing is a natural outgrowth of his commitment to open source computing, or, as he writes: “I believe that the ability to easily build high quality web applications is of critical importance for the growth of a free and open society. This prevents the biggest players from monopolizing the flow of information.”

The DePaul University Library has supported a number of open access publishing initiatives through its institutional repository, Via, and through its support of broader initiatives such as Knowledge Unlatched. The library and DePaul SGA are currently planning a panel discussion on the use of OERs at DePaul for the Spring Quarter as well as a new addition to our Library Services for Faculty page that will direct interested faculty members to open textbook collections such as Open SUNY Textbooks and the Open Textbook Library. More information on these projects will be posted to this site, but you may also contact your liaison librarian with any questions.

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