EdTech Factotum #8: Sustaining OER, Changing Culture, ISTE

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June 30, 2017

Here are three articles that I found interesting this week. A note that there may not be an edition next week. I'm on holidays so may skip reading about EdTech and instead work on finally finishing Bonfire of the Vanities. 

Will OER Take Off in Higher Education?

Tanya Roscorla, Converge, June 19, 2017

The question posed in the title isn't as much about adoption by faculty, but about how OER activity can be sustained over time when the grants run out.

It is a question that hangs over many OER projects. But, as Daniel DeMarte of Tidewater Community College points out, developing and delivering OER-driven pathways and programs for students doesn't need to be accompanied by big direct expenses. Instead, many of the costs are indirect and can be absorbed by re-prioritizing existing resources. Not only did Tidewater shift funding within their base budget to make funding OER's a priority, they also redirected existing internal resources, like librarians, to help support OER efforts like their Z-Degree.

Another people factor that's helped Tidewater is engaging librarians, instructional designers and student services staff in the effort. By pulling in these support staff over time, Tidewater Community College has expanded its efforts. At least one librarian on each campus has OER in the job description, and now these librarians are being recruited away from Tidewater because of their experience.

As the evidence base builds that OER's increase access and student success, this type of institutional reshifting of funding should become more common. At some point, OER's have to shift from pilot projects supported by external grant funding to becoming base budget activities at institutions where access and student success are priorities.

Show me the evidence…

James Clay, Feb 13, 2017

Then again, maybe all the evidence in the world won't be enough to convince some to make that shift. Even though he is writing generally about the use of technology in education, James Clay's arguments could easily be transferred to the world of OER adoption. 

When an academic asks “for the evidence to show technology can make a difference” the problem is not the lack of evidence, but one of resistance to change, fear, culture, rhetoric and motivation.

You really need to solve those issues, rather than find the “evidence”, as even if you find the evidence, you will then get further responses such as, wouldn’t work with my students, not appropriate for my subject, it wouldn’t work here, it’s not quite the same, not transferable…. etc…

Clay suggests that resistance to change is cultural and provides some very practical ways to help change an organizational culture so that it both values & rewards curiosity, innovation, and experimentation.

To Students, Many College Learning Experiences Feel Like They’re From ‘Another Century’

Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 19, 2017

Testing out embedding some video code here for this 12 minute interview with new ISTE CEO Richard Culatta.

I haven't followed the work of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) much, primarily because I have viewed their work as focused more on k-12 than higher ed. But that may change as it sounds like Culatta may be making a more concerted effort into bringing higher ed into the ISTE fold.

This is a wide ranging conversation where Culatta talks about the importance of net neutrality for educators, to the Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative, to the smart use of technology in education. I think I need to pay more attention to ISTE.

If there is no video embedded below, here is the direct link.
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