April Office Hours: Making Modular OER

Office Hours

Watch the video recording of this Office Hours session, or keep reading for a full transcript. The chat transcript is also available, for those interested in reading the conversation that took place amongst participants and seeing resources shared.

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Audio Transcript


Zoe: Hello everybody, and welcome to Office Hours for the month of April. It is remarkable that it is only April, given it’s been approximately 30 years since we all saw each other last. I genuinely usually when these things come up on my calendar, I’m like, “Oh, but, but we just did that last week.” And this is the first time in a long time not the case, I can barely remember what we did last time. 

However, we’re all here together, again. I hope you are all well and safe. We have a very fun topic that I think a few of us, I know Jonathan in particular is a bit of a nerd about this stuff and I am, too. So, we’re talking about modularity in OER. And we have a great lineup of guests, I will invite my lovely co-host, Karen, to introduce them to you all. 

Karen: Why, thank you, Zoe. I am Karen Lauritsen, I am with the Open Textbook Network. We are delighted to be here with all of you and the Rebus Community. Today, we have three guests who are going to talk about making modular OER. Each of them will spend just a couple of minutes introducing their experience and perspective on the topic, and then we will turn things over to you and look to you to drive the conversation and ask questions. 

So, feel free to participate in the chat, and then you’ll have another opportunity to turn on your microphones, after we hear from our three guests, who are Melissa Falldin, she is an instructional designer with digital education and innovation at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, where the Open Textbook Network is based. We have Lindsay Woodside, who is program manager at Ontario Extend. 

And Jonathan Lashley, who is associate chief academic officer with Idaho State Board of Education. So, these are our three guests today. And we are going to start things off with Lindsay. So, I’ll turn things over to you now, Lindsay. 

Lindsay: Thanks so much, Karen. Hi everyone, I’m just going to transfer over and share my screen here with you. Zoe, would you be able to share privileges with me? 

Zoe: Yes, I will do that for you in one second. 

Lindsay: Perfect, thank you, got it. Just pull it up here. Okay. Everyone see my screen okay? Perfect, so good afternoon, everyone. So, as Karen mentioned, my name is Lindsay Woodside, actually my title changed in the last two weeks. I’m actually now a digital learning associate at eCampusOntario. And for those of you not familiar with our organization, we are a government funded not for profit consortium and the center of excellence in online and tech enabled learning for all 45 publicly funded colleges and universities in Ontario. 

And in a previous role, I was actually the manager of the nursing open at scale program in early 2019, which was an initiative that emerged but wound down shortly thereafter due to shifting priorities. But nonetheless, during that time in just four short months we were able to actually publish three short modular based OERs in the nursing slash health professional field. 

So, the tricky part in planning for today was actually to package what nuggets of wisdom I wanted to share with you in a five-minute overview. So, my goals are threefold over the next few minutes, and they include the following: number one, to provide you with a high-level overview of the nuts and bolts of the nursing open at scale project. Number two, to briefly discuss the why and how behind the decision making to a modular approach at generating OER. 

And then, number three, finishing off by providing you with a quick peek at one of the OERs we did generate. So, you can get a look and feel for how modular at least to us is represented in an OER. So, moving right along, the overarching goal for this project was as follows. 

We set out to develop a suite of OERs in the nursing discipline, incorporating technical innovation, human skills and applied skills into packages of materials that could be easily picked up, ported over, repackaged, remixed, reused, if you will, depending on the needs of a department or institution. Moving onto the why and how behind the decision making for a modular approach, which I’ll explain through the project’s two phases. 

So, first we engaged a research team, to conduct an environmental scan to uncover existing OER that could be leveraged for this project. And that team amazingly uncovered over 350 open resources related to nursing. At the same time, we reviewed the types of courses offered in Years 1 and 2 of nursing programs across the province. And we developed a list of seven common foundational nursing curricula. 

Think like umbrella themes, like the ones you see on the screen here, nursing as a practice and nutrition. We knew that it wasn’t feasible, given our people power within our team, to create OERs at scale for Years 1 right through 4 right out of the gate. So, we started with just Years 1 and 2. We then held a co-design session with nursing faculty and other reps from our institutions to better understand what they as the experts deemed to be common foundational nursing content that would fit under these larger curricula umbrellas. 

And at the same session we also co-designed an instructional design template and style guide specifically for nursing OER generation. I think it’s really important here to mention we focused on this smaller modular unit type content ideas generation with these stakeholders, primarily because we wanted to develop high-quality adaptable and accessible OERs that met an immediate need and contributed to the discipline fairly quickly. 

And we’d been advised by our senior advisor team, comprised at the time of two nursing experts, that there likely would be great uptake with a modular approach. So, from there, we then compared the environmental scan to the suggested content ideas from those stakeholders to determine how we could best leverage existing OER to match their suggestions. 

And then, of course what new content needed to be created to broaden the repository of nursing OER. Finally, we refined things even further, to identify three high-impact content areas for modular OER creation as our starting point in this project. So, in phase two, our attention from the beginning of May until the end of June last year was to focus on generating the content for these three high-impact, but relatively small short modular friendly designed OERs. 

And we did so through a series of sprints. So, we onboarded three sprint teams, which included participants from nursing faculties, multi-media designers, biomedical illustrators, nursing students, public health experts to assemble in our offices in Toronto and at Ryerson University, to create these OER. And I’m really still amazed at what we were able to do in such a short window of time. 

We created three OERs in these topic areas that you see listed here. All three of these OERs have been published on the eCampusOntario open library. And we’ve seen great adoption and uptake with these OERs as well. So, that being said, I’m just going to toggle over, just bear with me here. I want to share with you okay, so I’m just going to toggle over and give you a sneak peek at what one of these OERs looks like. 

Just so you can see what I mean by modular, and I’m nearly done here, and I’ll pass it off to the next person. You can see my screen here, Interpreting Canada’s Food Guide? Okay, so I just want to give you a little quick sneak peek of what modular means to us. So, I’ll try not to go too fast here. But you can see here when I click down and expand this table of contents, this OER has three short chapters. 

And within each of those chapters, since we were able to co-design an instructional design template and style guide, each of those chapters looks and feels the same. So, they have learning outcomes, the content, and they each end with a set of reflection questions, evaluate your learning and key takeaways. The OER also includes a nice relevant glossary. I think it’s really worth mentioning in closing here that modular doesn’t mean less than in terms of quality. 

We have H5P in these OER, there are real high-impact medical illustrations, we shot videos with public health experts. We followed again that instructional design template I talked about and a style guide. And in closing, I think we would have continued using this modular approach to content generation. It was easy to manage, there was a quick turnaround time, it was of high quality, if the trajectory of the program hadn’t changed. 

So, in closing, hopefully you found this useful and I look forward to answering any questions you might have when we move into that designated discussion time. 

Karen: Thank you very much, Lindsay. I am now going to hand things over to Melissa. 

Melissa: Hi there. So, yes, as was said earlier, my name is Melissa Falldin and I’m an instructional designer with the digital education and innovation team at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Quite a mouthful. In my work as an instructional designer, I’m continually addressing course content needs as I consult with our instructors and we’re often discussing open resources and the ability to use it or potentially author open textbooks.

But I am joining you today with another experience in mind, a pilot authoring program that was conducted with our chief information officer out of our college, David Ernst. Dave is the founder of the center for open education at our university, which is home to the Open Textbook Network and the Open Textbook Library. And within his extensive work with all things open, a couple of years ago, Dave wanted to pilot an authoring experience with a K12 school district here in Minnesota. 

It was the largest school district in our state. And I worked with Dave on this project developing the process and then later facilitating this process where small groups of K12 teachers created textbooks to be used in their classes throughout the district. Our authors were brand new to the concept of open and to authoring, and our pilot was bounded by time being we had very little of it. 

The district was willing to compensate instructors for limited additional summer pay. But essentially, we were looking at creating these books with about two days of foundation setting and training and four days of writing. It was truly a sprint, and that sprint resulted in a project that I could speak to for hours, really. But aligning with this Office Hours session today, I want to speak to just one element. 

And that one element is how we use modularity in the setup and the actual technical process of creating our book. So, for various reasons too many to address today, but not the least of which was time, we were leaning into open existing resources and the ability to remix those resources. Defining the book’s structure and what we called the elements within the book became critical to our overall creation. 

Not only did this provide a practical actionable framework to align content to, it allowed us to create identical Google doc structure that allowed for collaborative writing. The process also assured consensus from authors and allowed for future conflict resolution. As any issues arose, the groups were able to go back to the framework they defined for quick resolution. The process also resulted in a somewhat tangible aspect to authoring. 

This was for many of our K12 authors kind of a pie in the sky idea of creating a textbook and becoming authors. And now that was something that began to take shape and have form and have a future. We created a very low-tech framework for our books. We used large Post It notes to organize the different modules within our book. And sometimes those Post It notes, when we ran out, became half sheets of paper. 

We held brainstorming sessions, where the authoring groups were asked to outlay their future books independent of the content matter by writing out parts of their ideal books on this large Post It note. So, when we reviewed these notes, we were removing duplicates, reconciling language, assuring that everyone was in consensus as to what this book was going to look like. 

And then, we divided the Post It notes into what we called structure and elements. So, at this point, it might be helpful to share very quickly. Our structure we defined as the big elements of a book, so whether we were going to divide this into units or chapters, whether you’d have subsections, if you had a table of contents, appendices, things like that. And then, our elements were aspects that would be consistently replicated within that structure. 

So, learning objectives, overviews, whether you’d have practice sets, whether you’d use key takeaways, summaries, things like that, anything that was going to be very specific to do through that particular work, actually creating three different books within this pilot. And then, what we did was really just line out these Post It notes in a way where we said, “Okay, on the left-hand side of whether we had a board or a table, or what have you. 

We’re going to have our structural elements. And then, horizontally aligned to that vertical structure we are going to add elements of our books. We did this again independent of the content matter that was going to be in the book. So, this was just structure and element. And we were able to reorganize by just lifting, moving these Post It notes as needed to make sure that everybody was in consensus that the book looked like something we wanted to pursue. 

And that ended up literally looking something like this. So, we would have book chapter, section, and quite a bit of discussion as to how we were going to move these things around. Does it make sense that we start with the title page or a title? How granular were we going to get this? And that led us to a structure that we could then map all of our content pieces onto and create and replicate this structure with the content pieces in a Google folder. 

Where then, it was very easy for us to go out and find the pieces of content that we were going to need to use to create the book, to identify gaps where we were going to have to create additional resources. And we were able to do this with all very low-tech collaborative tools that were very common to the instructors that were actually writing these books. We found that during this creation process, our authors continually referred to this framework, and to more easily identify gaps in the content, to draft their content areas. 

And ultimately, this structure allowed us for ease of reorganization our future versions of this book or future enhancements or adaptations. And I look forward to answering any questions you might have about this. 

Karen: Super, thanks, Melissa. And with that, over to you, Jonathan. 

Jonathan: Hi everyone, it’s great to see so many familiar names and faces on the call. And yes, happy birthday to the Open Textbook Library. As Zoe mentioned, modularity, I consider myself a big nerd for it, because really, it’s the modular aspects of OER that got me involved with the open education community in the first place. My early career was actually in graphic design and web development. 

And so, the idea that you would have modular content that you would share openly and be able to take bits and pieces that represent certain quality or certain features that you want, and then play bricoleur and take all these disparate items and bring them together for a new whole is I think a philosophy that’s core to any modern web development, but also graphic design, art. 

And I would also argue because at least this is the case for me and this has been the case for a lot of faculty I’ve worked with in OER, it’s also core to our academic lifestyle, whether we’re taking disparate pieces of content, they’re discrete from different things that we’ve read and combining them together to create new scholarship. Or developing our syllabi and our course, our course assignments and just general curriculum. 

And granted, my early teaching was in composition, and so this is core to how we’re taught to teach writing. The idea that we are effective writers when we’re effective readers, because we have myriad influences and you’re the common factor. And taking all those influences and combining them to one complete whole. And just in my work with faculty specifically, I’ve seen over and over again and this was the case for me.

I was a Creative Commons junkie and I was practicing open pedagogy in OER long before I knew about the term open education. Just because no one single piece of instructional content, no one textbook faithfully helped me teach the class I wanted to teach. And so, I was constantly going out on the web, and finding what’s available for free, whether it’s fair use, whether it’s openly licensed. 

What can I leverage? In some cases, what can I go through and gain access to that I probably shouldn’t have access to? But it’s just so important to share it with my students, I’m going to do it anyway. I’ve since dismissed those practices, but the key component there and I’ve found this over and over again when talking to faculty for the first time about open educational resources is that under the terminology, they think this is a new concept. 

And I just don’t have time or bandwidth to improve my course. So, I don’t want to talk to you about OER. But if approaching those conversations differently and asking, “Hey, how do you teach your class? What materials do you use? What experiences do you want your students to encounter and how do you want to support them through textual materials?” Nine times out of 10, faculty have been using OER not knowing it. 

This has just continually been a theme I’ve seen with faculty, and actually I know there’s some faculty on the call who I’m currently working with. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that their projects naturally are taking a more modular tack because what they’re finding is I think specifically about an English group I’m working with right now. There is a wealth of open content that’s out there, high quality open content. 

And it creates a whole new problem, where it’s like where do we start? Where do we stop? What do we take? How do we effectively navigate all this and create the most exhaustive resource possible? And I think that’s the first impulse, and then you start diving in and realizing well, I don’t need to use all of this. And because it’s openly licensed, I don’t have to. And so, now they’re finding a sense of agency where it’s like, “Well, I can curate the resources that are going to be most impactful for me and make an educated suggestion.” 

But also, just because I produce a resource that’s new, some new bricolage, doesn’t mean that someone’s going to adopt that whole hock either. They can go in and this practice inspires new practice in recycling and reusing and finding disparate pieces. And so, it’s that sustainable scalable infrastructure around OER that is complementary of my work as an artist, my work as an educator, my work as a designer. 

And then, just generally, a creative person who cares about presenting access. And so, knowing I only have five minutes, the only other thing I would say from a technical standpoint of modularity is that the more you can work on HTML and broadly portable and modular formats, the better. It’s where I have also been a real evangelist of platforms like Pressbooks because by any means, is it the most exhaustive? No. 

But it takes a lot of what’s already out there in web environments and allows us to remix more easily. And so, I’m always on the lookout for tools like that. 

Karen: Thank you, Jonathan. So, we’ve heard from Lindsay, Melissa and Jonathan, and now we’d like to hear from you. The first question that was in the chat was from Kathy, she was looking for a copy of the guide that Lindsay mentioned. And Lindsay has put that there in the chat, so it’s a PDF that you can download. Now, for other questions feel free to unmute your microphone or put them in the chat. 

I will get us started. Lindsay, you talked about a stakeholder co-design session in your first phase. Can you talk a little bit more about what that co-design session looked like? 

Lindsay: Sure, absolutely, thanks, Karen. Yes, so we actually met early on actually recently, directly after I was hired, we met with like I said nursing experts, instructional designers, librarians, students were at that meeting. It was a large key stakeholder group to help us design the content that would be part of that modular approach. So, if we get into the nitty gritty, just a few granular examples of how that worked. 

It was taking those curricula umbrellas that I talked about, we needed to have some prep done in advance in order to guide that discussion at that stakeholder meeting. So, it was taking those curricula umbrella themes and then just doing musical chairs. We actually had the stakeholder groups at four different tables around the room. We gave them five minutes on the wall, each of those curricula themes were posted up. 

We gave them five minutes as they moved around in their groups, visiting each of the curricula umbrellas, generating content ideas. And as a result, we left with all these great ideas that fell under these large curricula themes, and then it was our job to refine them with the help of our senior project advisors. Refine them, refine them, refine them down and what we actually ended up thinking was a starting point, ended up being our ending point. 

Because of course, priorities changed in government and the program wound down shortly thereafter. But nonetheless, that was how we organized that and how we came about that modular approach, if that’s helpful. So, taking all of the valuable insight that those stakeholders had and using it in a way to elicit the best material to be generated as recommended by that group. 

Karen: Thanks, so when you went from phase one to phase two, and you also did sprints, like Melissa. How did that content that you had brainstormed with those stakeholders factor into that sprint phase? And any details about the sprint, I’m interested in. Melissa said two days training, four days writing, I’m interested in your sprint timeline as well. 

Lindsay: Sure. So, that was really interesting as well, I’d never actually run a sprint before, so that was a lot of learning really quickly. But basically, what we did in a nutshell is we posted some calls to participate and armed with our understanding that we would like to develop three OER on the food guide, the vaccines, and health assessment, we had interested faculty, nursing experts, students, biomedical illustrators, videographers apply in terms of what OER best aligned to their skillset. 

And so, they knew what they were applying to write, we needed the subject matter experts and there were various. And so, when they applied, they applied with the intent that they would like to author, we came up with a frame of three or four chapters, they selected the chapters they’d be interested in writing. And then, of course, we evaluated the applications, selected the participants to participate in the sprint. 

Certainly, gave them a lot of onboarding materials in advance to review, so when they arrived at the sprint, the sprint wasn’t necessarily where content was written. A lot of that was asked to be done beforehand, virtually through the group. But the sprints were actually designed to be the space in which we discussed and troubleshot any misalignment with content in terms of what the experts agreed on. 

And then, we also used it as a space to develop the multi-media and medical illustrations and where those would go in terms of placement within the OER. So, it was used almost like a check-in space, and development to some extent, but not in the writing, the rigor of the writing sense so to speak, if that helps. 

Karen: Thank you. Olga has a question related to one of your comments that you heard a lot of institutions have adopted the resource. How did you hear? We’re always looking for ways to find out how were you notified about adoptions and use of OER. 

Lindsay: So, our open library actually has a form to report adoptions, and so we only hear when instructors and folks fill out that form. So, unbeknownst to us, there certainly could be use outside of that. But it’s primarily through that adoption form that we try and broadcast whenever we’re promoting a new OER in the open library. And obviously, that really helps us in terms of reporting on savings and again, looking at uptake of OERs across the board. 

Karen: Thanks. Arnie asked in the chat, and I invite anyone here, not just our three guests, but anyone in the call to this conversation is this happening on a larger scale? And I think Arnie’s referring to potentially standardizing structure and elements or thinking about different OER remixing platforms. And Arnie, I think there is a history of that out there, but a lot of challenges as you can probably imagine since OER can take many different forms. 

And instructors have so many different priorities and tools that they like to work with, sometimes trying to ask somebody to learn a new tool can be a hurdle. So, I would say there’s probably not, and I can tell Zoe wants to say something, too. 

Zoe: Yeah, this is one of those things where one of the best aspects of OER, which is the freedom and the ease of proliferation and all of that also creates a bit of a problem where it’s really difficult to get standardization. And there’s a fine balance to meet of how much you even want to standardize because we want to preserve that freedom and flexibility. 

I do know from a very technical platform perspective, there have been conversations in the past between some of the platforms and organizations around standardizing into an HTML structure, HTML book. I don’t think they got very far, it’s just a difficult thing, often. People who are building and maintaining platforms and I’m thinking of Pressbooks and I know OpenStax with how they structure their content. 

It’s hard to allocate resources to that, when there are so many competing priorities. It’s the kind of thing that would be amazing, if we could have that underlying structure from as I say, I’m talking to the level of how are you marking up the text of a book to be portable between platforms? It’s both a major ask, and also is a little hard to think about how that would be adopted and what that would mean for people who are joining in doing this kind of work. So, that’s not quite an answer, but I’ll try and pass it off as one. 

Karen: I would also like to add that the OTN is working with an advisory group of faculty and librarians and the Coko Foundation, which creates editoria, a publishing platform, an open source publishing platform to try and support this process for authors in creating more modular content, in structuring a textbook or elements. And so, that is something that we hope will work across platforms. 

So, if somebody wanted to as Melissa described think separately from their content about how do I want this structure to work? I want to make consistent chapters, I’m going to think of this before I start filling in content. They could do that in editoria, they could export it, they could do it in Pressbooks, hopefully they can do it in a lot of different spaces. So, that is in process. It’s an IMLS funded grant, I’ll just put the link in there, if you’d like to learn more, let me know. 

Zoe: Yeah, I’m really excited to see that come together, Karen. I’ve chatted with Dave about it before. And it’s one of those things where modularity at the level of the content is incredibly practical from a creative perspective. It’s practical from an author perspective, from a creator perspective, anybody who’s managing a book. And at the same time has real benefits for downstream uses, and the immediate one is obviously students having well-structured content that’s been thought through in this way is incredibly valuable. 

And in addition, with OER there is the secondary audience, or another audience that I think has equal importance, which is like what Jonathan was talking about, other faculty who are looking for these resources and how they can fit them all together. So, the more we can start to build these practices in as habit, when we’re doing the work of creation, the better for everybody, for all of us who are working in all our different ways with OER having consistency and structure. 

Again, as I say with preserving the flexibility is really valuable, so as I say, I’m excited to see what comes out of that work with Coko to support that. 

Jonathan: Yeah, if I could just piggyback off of what Zoe’s saying. So, when I was at Clemson University, I worked in online education there. And part of our course development process was really about teaching faculty how to fish so to speak. And so, we were introducing not only modularity of content, but modularity of their course, and designing across the modules, learning management system. 

But we were also introducing topics like accessibility considerations. And at the institution when I was there, OER was such a nascent concept that we made I think it turned out to be a pretty shrewd decision to just include OER from the get-go as a really common mainstay in the online course development. Because the faculty are new to online learning, why not just throw all the newness at them at the same time, right? 

And so, I think that’s an important point to really emphasize with your question, Arnie. And I think it’s a great question is that it’s not just about the modularity and the fact that the content’s available. But where I’m always looking at how can we better scale and how can we better structure this is really looking at the quality piece early on. And I think it was Lindsay who said that modular does not have to mean lesser quality necessarily. 

And the faculty that I’m working with right now, we’re finding that as well. By thinking about little discrete pieces that you want to improve, you can ensure from the get-go that they’re accessible, your focus is not as distributed, so you’re able to zero in on what’s going to make this an effective piece of content that other people might want to use. And so, it’s just an ongoing process. 

But I think the more that we can create habits around accessibility just being core to what we do when we’re developing content for use in instructional purposes or developing in HTML because we know it’s going to be more portable across digital platforms. Those are things that can help. 

Melissa: I could maybe address one more element, Arnie. Specific to this K12 project in creating textbooks, we looked to standardize within the book, but not across say all three books. And very specifically for the end use case scenario, we had instructors that were going to be teaching the first trimester and the second trimester and the third trimester. Some of those teaching styles were something that the authoring groups were very aware of others in the district were maybe not going to teach to the book in the exact way they were. 

But they wanted to have the content correct, right? So, they were very, very specifically looking at we can parse this out, and I’m going to make chapter two chapter eight. And it was very easy to take that out, like a block and push it into the other space. So, I would maybe encourage the idea of what’s your audience actually going to be doing with the book, if they’re teaching from it? And that might be moving away from standardizing. 

Karen: Thanks, Melissa. I had a question for you, actually, related to your process and the fact that you separated the content from the structure. I wonder in working with instructors that that was a challenge for them to thread those things out, or how did you keep those conversations separate? Or was it kind of in the mix but not on the Post It notes? Can you say more about that?

Melissa: Yeah, it was somewhat in the mix, kind of back of mind. We basically had said, “Imagine your ideal book when you were a student, what helped you to learn? Was it having a summary? Was it having practice sets?” Because we found that people, this will sound odd, but got too fixated on the content, and then lost sight of how the content was actually going to meet their objectives. 

And so, the structural elemental pieces assured a path of objective activity assessment, and then we were able to align that content without muddling the picture for the authors at the time. It really was an idea of it was almost too much to think of putting the content into these consistent pieces from chapter to chapter. So, psychologically it was a method of breaking that apart and making us more efficient. 

Karen: Thanks. Related to your work with K12 folks, Amy has a question in the chat for you. In higher ed the arguments are broadly about affordability for individual students and academic freedom for faculty. But in K12 the savings go to the districts and decision making is centralized. Can you say anything about how you persuade those in the K12 environment to move towards open in that particular context? 

Melissa: Yeah, well, maybe there’s two parts to this. I would say that first off, Dave is a great persuader, and so he was the individual that was talking to the district of what kind of savings we could have in our textbooks and the cost of their textbooks. So, it was still district saving. For the instructors, it was just looking at the textbook as a different type of use case for their students. 

So, now typically in K12 scenarios, you have a textbook where we’re taking the paper grocery bags and making textbook covers to protect them because you might lose it on the bus, you might mar up your book. You can’t use your book as you would in higher ed. And so, talking to instructors, and convincing them that this is a book that now students can actually use, you can write in the margins, you can scribble over this. 

If you lose the book, it’s at cost, so it’s probably something like $7, that’s not a debt that’s weighing over parental units to have to pay back $100 textbook because the set is now diminished. The students can take that on to future years, and so maybe they have biology and then they take that biology book to advanced biology. So, seeing the book as a tool meant disrupting the mindset of how we would typically use a book in K12. 

And then, that was a very easy shift for our instructors, the hard shift potentially was honestly in this environment digital versus print. We had assumed that we had a lot of folks that wanted digital books for their students to use. But there was a lot of concern about access, accessibility equity and actual use. And so, we did ultimately provide print books and digital books. I hope that answers your question. 

Karen: Thanks, Melissa, and thanks for bringing back memories of covering my hardback elementary school texts with paper backs, I’d forgotten about that. The artistic expression that enabled. All right. 

Zoe: I have a question for Lindsay, partly related to what Melissa was saying previously about consistency between books. You obviously put out three, but I know there were others that were planned. Was the picture of how you would see people using them be that chapters would be taken from each of those book containers and put together? 

Or were they sort of more standalone, and what was the consistency like between the books that you output? And I’m curious whether you had a similar or a different approach to Melissa’s project. 

Lindsay: Yeah, that’s a great question, Zoe. I think initially the project team assumed that the way in which we were approaching content generation and publishing of these OERs would be to augment existing resources within the curriculum. So, they could be used to fill a gap or as a replacement to maybe a book in a chapter that a faculty wanted to see a departure from in some way. 

But then, as they developed, and although they’re still modular in nature, they actually became quite robust. There was a real sense of ownership from the incredible subject matter experts that we hired. And I know they can serve as because we know that they’ve been adopted as individual resources, although one of the things that would be worth looking into actually as a result of your question would be to see if they’re used to replace an existing textbook or augment an existing textbook, which would be interesting to note. 

But nonetheless, I think in some courses I know the health assessment OER, I know that there’s a first-year nursing course all on health assessment, and this is quite a robust OER. So, I can see in some cases how that may even be used in its full suite to replace a textbook. And then, your second question was sorry? What was the second part? Does that answer your question?

Zoe: Yeah, I think that covers everything I was interested in, thank you. 

Lindsay: Okay. Yeah. 

Zoe: Yeah, I will say I had been fortunate to have conversations with the eCampus team as they were envisioning this project and it’s a model that I would be really excited to see applied elsewhere and to the discipline approach. And again, something that sticks with me about modularity is that it is does apply right from the very macro level which is what you took identifying a space, what are the components of it? 

What are the components of each of those? And cascading down to the very individual resource, to the level of a single chapter, a single paragraph even, that Jonathan pointed out. That the approach to writing can be very modular, too. It’s applicable at all levels, and in some really powerful ways. [crosstalk 0:43:23]

Jonathan: It’s fine, I just want to jump in and highlight some of what I’m seeing in the chat because I think Matt and Kathy are bringing up some really excellent points about engagement with K12 on this specifically. Matt talking from the standpoint of personalized learning and Kathy mentioning this idea of professional development, and that that can happen in any level of education. 

Just in my own experience in Idaho, we have one central state board of education, overseeing K through 20 across the state. And so, right now, one of the faculty members I’m working with he’s a dual credit faculty member part time, but he’s full time high school French instructor. And his interest in this because again, the affordability standpoint maybe doesn’t have that much persuasion for his local leadership. 

Where they are interested is how can we think about the life of the learner and how can we think long-term about what it means for people to have ownership over the materials that they use in their classes. And with OER, this is a case of like open pedagogy where students who have maybe supplemental resources that he’s helped create, they’re openly licensed or modular that they can take the bits and pieces that are useful to them. 

And say in the case of French language instruction, these are resources that his students now can fall back on in subsequent years, when they’re taking new French courses, or they go to France and they want to brush up on these modular and discrete pieces of instruction that they had exposure to. 

Karen: Thanks Jonathan. All right, our hour is drawing to a close, so if you have any additional comments or questions or things you would like to talk about, now is the time. Love Jonathan sharing his perspective on OER before he knew it was OER. Thanks Kathy. 

Jonathan: My life would have been a lot easier if I knew about OER instead of just stumbling around in the dark, but I found the light eventually. 

Karen: Great conversation about OER in the K12 environment, a surprise outcome of today’s conversation. Maybe one for us to explore in the future, I see Apurva nodding, she’s already making note of it. All right, well, Zoe, I’ll hand things over to you, and then we can thank our guests and tell you what’s in store for next month. 

Zoe: Thanks, Karen. I just did want to say as we’re wrapping up, we have been running a little bit of a short series of short webinars, trying to start thinking about how to apply the principles and practices of OER in response the how do I even express the moment in which we live and all its very many challenges within higher education? So, I’ll ask Apurva just to share a link if anybody’s interested in continuing this conversation, how we can be thinking about these modular pieces of OER to respond to moving classes online very quickly. 

Or other subjects, we have a list of running ideas and we’re wanting to keep our ears open and listen to you folks as well. So, if there’s a particular challenge that is facing you in this moment, we are very, very keen to work with you and work with everybody in the community to find solutions together. So, that’s there in the chat for you from Apurva, and we hope to see you around with that. And with that, I’ll pass back to Karen for official wrap up, thank you. 

Karen: All right, thanks, Zoe. And thank you to Lindsay Woodside, Melissa Falldin, and Jonathan Lashley for joining us today as we talked about modular OER, it was great to hear your stories. And thanks to all of you for coming, and participating in the chat or simply listening in, we appreciate you and that work that you’re doing. And look forward to seeing you next month, when we will talk about money and budgets and how to make a budget. 

And even share some spreadsheet templates, so pretty glamorous stuff. I know. But part of our reality, so we hope that you will join us then. Apurva put a link in the chat, it’s there for you if you’d like to RSVP or save the date on your calendar. Until then, best wishes and see you soon. 

Zoe: Thank you so much, everybody. 

Lindsay: Bye everyone, take care. 

Jonathan: Thanks.

Chat Transcript

00:17:06 Apurva Ashok: You can reach out at contact@rebus.community if you want anything removed from the chat or recording.

00:18:38 Lindsay Woodside: My title changed since I sent my bio lol I am now a Digital Learning Associate!

00:19:30 Karen Lauritsen: Cool, congrats!

00:26:07 Apurva Ashok: Here are links to the 3 OERs Lindsay brought up: 

Vaccine Practice for Health Professionals: 1st Canadian Edition: https://openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca/catalogue/item/?id=eee4df35-4d54-4074-9c90-1c7d1fb355c7

The Complete Subjective Health Assessment: https://openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca/catalogue/item/?id=df19b620-466b-4167-be67-85062048bc57

Interpreting Canada’s 2019 Food Guide and Food Labelling for Health Professionals: https://openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca/catalogue/item/?id=8d149a27-c5eb-49d2-8208-9b8ab7492de7

00:26:49 Kathy Essmiller: Is there a copy of the ID guide?

00:27:48 Zoe Wake Hyde: Such a stellar model & process developed by eCampus on that work – would love to be able to replicate it in every discipline.

00:28:07 Cheryl A Cuillier: Happy 8th Birthday to the Open Textbook Library!

00:28:48 Karen Lauritsen: Yay! 🙂

00:29:23 Lindsay Woodside: Hi Kathy, sure let me poke around for it….

00:30:49 Karen Lauritsen: You can learn more about the Post-It note process here: https://canvas.umn.edu/courses/106630/pages/working-with-authors-to-develop-textbook-structure?module_item_id=2515487

00:31:17 Zoe Wake Hyde: I am a huge fan of post-its for all purposes 😀

00:31:31 Zoe Wake Hyde: And we refer folks to the above resource all the time – very clear and effective

00:39:09 Lindsay Woodside: Hi Kathy, I attached the guide…its open CC 

00:40:11 Apurva Ashok: Thanks, Lindsay! We’ll be sure to link to the file in our call summary.

00:43:29 Olga Perkovic: Lindsay, you mentioned that a lot of institutions have adopted the resource. How are you notified about the adoptions?

00:43:53 Arnie Schoenberg: Is this happening on a larger scale? Is anyone talking about standardizing Structure and Elements between existing OER remixing platforms?

00:45:14 Olga Perkovic: Thanks!

00:48:12 Karen Lauritsen: https://coko.foundation/coko-and-open-textbook-network-plan-imls-grant-related-kick-off-in-december/

00:53:12 Amy Hofer: @Melissa I’m curious about what’s persuasive when talking to k12 folks. In higher ed the arguments are broadly about affordability for individual students and academic freedom for faculty. But in k12 the savings go to the districts and decision making is centralized. Can you talk a bit about how you start in this context? I know this is a bit off the topic of modularity…

00:54:59 Karen Lauritsen: Dave  = “The Great Persuader”

00:55:38 Jonathan Lashley: Earnest Ernst, they call him

00:56:06 Karen Lauritsen: 🙂

00:56:14 Amy Hofer: Thanks Melissa, that is interesting!

00:56:42 Matt Ruen: Amy, one of the big selling points for Michigan’s statewide push for K-12 OER is the idea of modularity, and how it enables personalized learning

00:57:51 Kathy Essmiller: In Oklahoma, K12 OER push points to resources freed up for Professional Development. The state is part of some pilots where PD is offered for ‘free’ in instances where teachers and/or districts have adopted OER.

00:57:53 Amy Hofer: Thanks Matt, that’s a great point and also closes the loop with the actual topic of today’s session 🙂

00:58:04 Karen Lauritsen: Full circle!

00:58:24 Matt Ruen: 😀

01:00:25 Matt Ruen: Kathy’s point appears here too–talking about K-12 OER as a way to spend district dollars on training & supporting their teachers, instead of sending the $ off to a publisher

01:01:57 Kathy Essmiller: Loved Jonathan’s sharing his perspective on OER before he knew it was OER

01:02:16 Matt Ruen: (On the state government level, K-12 OER support is part of a general “more innovation! Digital transformation!” push.)

01:03:00 Brandon Carson: I have heard “I was doing OER before I knew it was OER” so many times on sessions like this.

01:03:18 Apurva Ashok: Open & Online: https://rebus.foundation/2020/04/14/open-online-continues/

01:03:35 Jonathan Lashley: I’m far from unique, Brandon

01:03:53 Amy Hofer: Yet uniquely so, Jonathan!

01:04:02 Jonathan Lashley: XD

01:04:12 Kathy Essmiller: Thank you!

01:04:14 Arnie Schoenberg: Thank you everyone!

01:04:22 Apurva Ashok: Next month, we’ll return to discuss one of the big questions: How much is this going to cost? Budgeting OER Production. https://www.rebus.community/t/office-hours-how-much-is-this-going-to-cost-budgeting-oer-production/3391

01:04:23 Amy Hofer: Thank you!

01:04:24 HristovaR: Thank you!

01:04:43 Apurva Ashok: Thank you everybody! Take care.

01:04:44 Olga Perkovic: Thanks everyone. Great to connect. Be safe.

01:04:45 Jonathan Poritz: thanks very much, super interesting!01:04:46 Matt Ruen: Thank yoU!

Thanks to Mei Lin for preparing the audio transcript and video captions!

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