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Thursday, October 21 • 5:30pm - 5:40pm
Maintaining Momentum: Targeted OER Advocacy Turned Sustainable OER Service

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With access to print course reserves restricted over the 2020-21 academic year, library workers at the University of Western Ontario adapted our Course Readings service, aiming to purchase an online copy of all course textbooks. In doing so, we were quickly confronted with the realities of the commercial eBook landscape: the vast majority of textbooks were not available for purchase in an online format. Knowing that students who are unable to purchase their own materials were disproportionately affected by the absence of options for alternative access, the closure of our library and lack of access to print course reserves later became a catalyst for targeted OER outreach to faculty. We put our values of equity and inclusion into action, presenting faculty whose commercial course books were unavailable to us in an online format with a set of Open and affordable titles that they could adopt instead.

With the anticipated return to in-person learning and services for the 2021-22 academic year, we’re also facing another challenge: As access to traditional print materials becomes once again feasible, how do we maintain momentum in favour of open and affordable course reading alternatives? How do we maintain heightened awareness and concern around inequities in access to curriculum resources?

This session will discuss the origins, successes, and challenges of our targeted OER outreach initiative—an initiative for which we sent personal messages and curated lists of OER options to faculty whose commercial books were not available to the library as ebooks. The project, as we conceptualized it, would enable more faculty participation in Open Education by addressing one of the key barriers to OER adoption: the time, labour, and expertise required to find viable Open alternatives for commercial books. As we look towards a return to in-person learning, we will also share how we plan to take what we’ve learned from this outreach project to build a more sustainable and intentional service for locating OER options on faculty’s behalf. We will speak to adapted messaging and advocacy around the service (as online access to course materials becomes less of a perceived necessity), the service workflow, and the cross-team collaboration required, such that others might be able to do something similar as we collectively works towards creating a more equitable and inclusive future for education.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Identify existing services with which they might embed OER initiatives, to ensure sustainability and reach to key audiences
  • Consider how to re-frame their Open outreach and advocacy strategies and initiatives for post-pandemic contexts

avatar for Crystal Mills

Crystal Mills

User Services Manager, University of Western Ontario
avatar for Emily Carlisle-Johnston

Emily Carlisle-Johnston

Research & Scholarly Communication Librarian, Western University

Courtney Waugh

Research & Scholarly Communication Librarian, Western University

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Thursday October 21, 2021 5:30pm - 5:40pm EDT
Room C