47 SPEC Kit 351: Affordable Course Content and Open Educational Resources
Supporting role: licensing and reserves expertise
The library has a great deal of experience with storing and disseminating research and learning
materials, and should therefore take an active role collecting and supporting the use of open
educational resources.
The library is creating a task force on Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Textbooks. The
task force will be reviewing the background of past OER/Open Textbook initiatives at the university.
The task force will be reviewing current OER/Open Textbook landscape beyond the university
including academic libraries and how they are leading and support successful OER/Open textbook
programs. The task force will identify key decisions including developing local OERs versus adoption of
OER content.
The library will be a very important player in providing affordable course content through use of
our ever-growing research and scholarly collections in both digital, and to a lesser degree, print. We
envision a discovery tool that will allow both for easy linking within course management software
and expedient discovery through the development of highly sophisticated search tools. We expect our
search tools to easily and seamlessly flow from discovery to delivery in the future.
The library would like to be involved with these initiatives in the future, but so far a campus-wide,
large-scale initiative has not been started. Only smaller initiatives have been championed so far.
The role of research libraries in affordable course content services in the future builds on our
longstanding roles in providing information resources for teaching and learning. Library materials are
by their nature “affordable” and particularly so when they are digital and licensed for use without any
multi-user restrictions. An important role for research libraries is advocating for great use of already
licensed content in courses and building tools to enable more seamless content integration. Pursuing
digitization programs with attention to campus teaching and learning needs is another important
strategy. Ultimately, the greatest challenge is communications and outreach. Research libraries provide
access to immense amounts of content but it is underutilized because it is not always easy to discover,
access, and integrate.
There are areas on campus that are investigating affordable course content, but it is too preliminary for
a cohesive plan.
There are opportunities to pull resources to license necessary educational content.
To support faculty to develop and include affordable content.
We already often have the platforms available to deliver them, such as digital repositories or e-reserve
systems. I see greater use being made of them in the future for this purpose.
We believe libraries can and should play an integral role in providing these services, but we’re still
trying to figure out what that means for our institution.
We envision our future role as one where we engage more actively with faculties to become
collaborators in their course design to better promote ACC. In addition, we expect partnerships with
editors to add ACC in our collections.
We envision our role being that of a change agent. Over time we hope to change faculty culture and
thinking as it relates to the use and creation of course content. Often faculty don’t know what options
might be available to them beyond traditional textbooks and/or they don’t have the time to make
changes to what they already use without some added incentive and support. We provide that incentive
and support and extend our reach by educating other central teaching and learning support staff on
campus about what we can do to help faculty. Little by little we are seeing our impact and reach grow.
Our approach also allowed us to build the infrastructure that supports the types of new projects (open
textbooks, digital course packs, interactive course companions, and more) faculty describe as their
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