Choose your own adventure with OER

This post was written by Angie Williamson, Program Coordinator (Open Education) at Deakin University Library. A member of the CAUL Enabling the Modern Curriculum (EMC) Advocacy Project team, Angie is one of the expert co-facilitators lined up for our upcoming EMC Melbourne workshop. For more OER learnings register for the workshop or the online Conference sessions.

Flag with "Explore" written on it as a call to action for OER engagement.

The possibilities of OER

Often when open educational resources (OER) are discussed the focus is on open textbooks.  Open textbooks can greatly impact a student’s learning by increasing access, increasing student satisfaction, and strengthening student success (Colvard, 2018). All of which is amazing but there is so much more to OER than just free textbooks!

"OER are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions” (UNESCO, 2017).

If we frame OERs as “teaching, learning and research materials”, OER encompasses multiple and diverse resource types. Think of the types of resources that you use in teaching – videos, review questions, presentations, infographics, simulations and associated ancillary activities to name a few. The formats of OER cover a whole range of resource types that can be used in inventive and engaging ways to support the learning needs of students. Additionally, as the UNESCO definition outlines, creative commons licences mean you can also adapt resources to the format that best suits your teaching. If a text is more in depth than you need, revise it to an infographic or a set of slides (with an attribution). This flexibility is what makes OER so useful and an invaluable treasure for teaching.

Imagination, pedagogy and participation

A step into the world of OER may lead to a personal journey shaped by your teaching philosophy. Exploring OER can be a beginning, maybe leading to the adoption of a resource, such as a textbook. This flip to an open textbook with creative commons licencing might nudge your imagination to create videos or animations or quizzes if they haven’t already been made. These newly created supporting resources in varying formats can then be shared as OER. Your work would then become part of assisting others using the open textbook for teaching. A supportive circle of reciprocal teaching practice!

In searching for resources for your specific need, you might find a textbook to adapt or even create your own using a variety of open resources. There are so many teaching opportunities that can be developed utilising open resources within the context of your pedagogical paradigm that can enhance student learning and interactions.

Participation in revising or creating OER is not limited to teachers, students can create too. Consider learning activities enabled by OER or the co-creation of open resources with students as part of their learning or assessment. The Creative Commons licences enable revision and adaption of open resources and learning activities can be designed to make use of this. Students could comment on open textbook chapters using a web annotator or could peer review, create question banks or diagrams based on an open text, developing lifelong learning skills while gaining an understanding of open practices such as attribution. Student assignments could even form part of an openly published text. With creativity and using open resources, teacher-student collaborations can produce innovative resources grounded in open educational practice for use by the wider community.

Multiple OER formats for new content creation and revision + the diversity of existing OER you can adapt = the application of open educational practice is only limited by your imagination.

Where to start on your OER journey

Start with exploring some platforms – you never know what you might find. Places to look for OER include:

  • OER Commons or MERLOT are both good starting points. Search for your topic and use the limiters to refine the material type if you need a particular format of resource.
  • Mason OER Metafinder has a real-time federated search which means it will search across multiple OER sources at the same time.
  • OAsis is an online open access repository where you can search over 100 sources for various resource types.

For ideas in open pedagogy and practice, have a look at the Open Pedagogy Notebook, Extending Into the Open or the Open Pedagogy Project Roadmap.

My key take-away for you

No two paths into open will be the same but the journey will be an adventure.

References and attribution

  • Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Hyojin, P. (2018). The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics. International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262-276.
  • UNESCO. (2017). Second world OER congress Ljubljana oer action plan 2017. 2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress, Ljubljana.
  • Explore photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Keynote announcement: Dr Tai Peseta and student partners

The Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference Project Team is delighted to announce the second keynote presentation for the online Conference, which will be delivered by Dr Tai Peseta and a team of student partners including Thilakshi Mallawa Arachchi, Brooke Mees, Kobi Newell, Lilly-Rose Saliba and Shivani Suresh. Tai and the team of student curriculum partners from Western Sydney University will be presenting a keynote titled Curriculum co-creation as boundary-breaking: expanding our horizons for partnership between students and the academic library.

Partnering to enable a modern curriculum is one of the four themes for the Conference, and we were delighted when Dr Peseta asked if she could partner in her keynote with a team of student partners – modelling partnership while presenting about partnership!

Here’s how they describe their presentation:

We are a team of students and staff at Western Sydney University who have been working together on a university-wide initiative called 21C– a 5-year curriculum transformation project. 21C advances the principles of Partnership Pedagogy – co-design, co-development, co-delivery and co-credentialling – and our stream of work has engaged us energetically in the acts of modern curriculum-making. We have learned how university curriculum gets made through making curriculum with others (academics and external partners), resulting in 10 transdisciplinary Minors – among them – Climate Justice, Equitable Technologies, Urban Evolution, Water for Life, Global Workplaces, and Personal Innovation, and 25 Curiosity Pods that aim to address big society and future of work challenges. Like much of the student-staff curriculum partnership literature suggests (Bovill & Woolmer, 2019; Lubicz-Nawrocka, 2017), the process has been puzzling, eye-opening, satisfying, often-times uncomfortable, and packed with realisations about how power circulates in the university. 

Yet, apart from seeing it as a place that collects, curates, and circulates knowledge and resources – books, articles, newspapers, videos, and that offers spaces for study, reflection, and retreat – as a team, we have engaged very little with our own university library. How does an institutional curriculum transformation project like 21C – with similar aims to CAUL’s statement on a modern curriculum – miss the potential and possibility for a more intentional curriculum partnership with the library? In what ways do the institutional boundaries and particularities of curriculum-making prevent us from engaging in a more purposeful, expansive, and productive partnership? 

In our presentation, we interrogate our student-staff curriculum practices. We share our experience and diagnosis of curriculum co-creation in the university; our interpretation of the scholarly literature about how libraries are already expanding their ways of working with students as partners; and we make suggestions that encourage all of us – students, academics, and librarians – to disrupt the boundaries of curriculum co-creation together.

Find out more about Dr Peseta and the team on the Conference website.

If you’re in Sydney, you can also catch Dr Peseta and co-facilitator Dr Amani Bell at a face-to-face workshop focused on student-staff partnerships on Thursday 13 September. Workshop places are limited, so register early! More information about the workshop is available on the Conference website.

Deadline extended! Submit an online presentation for the Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference

Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference. Call for abstracts deadline extended to 10 June. CAUL. Council of Australian University Librarians.

You’ve now got until 10 June to make your submission to present online at the Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference in September!

Academic libraries contribute to contemporary teaching and learning in myriad ways. We know that you innovate in OER spaces, embed digital literacy instruction into curriculum, and connect your communities to the collections, information resources and learning environments they need. Your colleagues across the sector what to hear about the work you, your team, and your library are doing in this space.

The CAUL EMC Conference team invites you to submit either a lightning talk or full presentation for inclusion in the online program on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 September. Your abstract must reflect and engage with one or more of the following Conference themes:  

  • Open Resources to Enable the Curriculum
  • Evolving our Digital Practices
  • Bending and Blending in Learning and Teaching
  • Partnering to Enable a Modern Curriculum

The call for submissions has been extended and will now close on 10 June. 

No papers are required – only a 300 word abstract and a live presentation during the event.

To find out more about the Conference themes and how to make a submission, check out the CAUL EMC 2022 Conference website.

Recruiting open textbook authors

This post was written by Adrian Stagg, Manager (Open Educational Practice), University of Southern Queensland

For many Australian institutions, open education represents a new opportunity that offers advantages and freedoms for staff but can present challenges of workload, buy-in, value, and even the risk of being seen as ‘the newest higher education fad’. Therefore, librarians advocating for open text adoption and adaptation need to demonstrate the value of open approaches, which means aligning with their academic colleagues’ existing needs. What follows is a list of methods that have yielded positive results by positioning openness as an extension of existing practice.

This approach uses Professor Emeritus Geoff Scott’s ‘Listen, Link, Lead’ maxim; that is:

(i) Listen for the problems and opportunities when working with academic staff. Liaison librarians do this daily and have excellent relationships with Faculty, often based on a ‘problem solver’ reputation.

(ii) Link (where appropriate and relevant) the issue at hand with open education. There are plenty of examples below, and again, part of the daily practice of any liaison work.

(iii) Lead. Be prepared to offer a strategy evidenced by practice examples.

Whilst ‘Listen, Link, Lead’ is core business for most librarians, it’s a handy way to frame discussions.

Linking examples

The examples below might serve as a touchstone for your experiences or as a base for extending practice with potential academic authors.

Textbook design and use

Custom texts: There are many good reasons to create custom texts, from providing a curated selection of the most relevant chapters for students to broadening the disciplinary narrative beyond a single author to providing varying points of view on key concepts. Commercial publishers will provide these texts, but they are often very expensive for students, and the legal frameworks for sharing may restrict the content. The same approach can be used with open textbooks when the licences are compatible. Faculty can select a range of free and open texts and construct a custom text. They also have the freedom to add or revise content that provides introductory or bridging information to create context.

Edition wars: Sometimes, a new edition creates chaos and miscommunication between the lecturer and students. Based on course/unit renewal cycles, transitioning to the new edition may be problematic. This, of course, creates supply issues for students, potential challenges for the campus bookshop, and plenty of opportunities for misunderstanding. Given that open texts remain free and openly accessible, lecturers might consider adopting a text and then slowly updating and contextualising the content over semesters. Then, they can publish the changes at the beginning of the semester and link to the texts via the learning management system.

Online and interactive content: Interactive activity design has been a staple of higher education. Keeping students engaged with study during disruptive events (such as COVID lockdowns) is even more important.

Most universities offer online modes from 2020 onwards, and open texts can support that transition. Lecturers who want to embed existing assets or have expressed interest in tools like H5P could be your next authors. Suggest they use legacy content (appropriately checked for third-party Copyright) with embedded activities as the frame for an open text. For example, they might consider a smaller-scale text that slowly grows each semester.

Access issues

Supply chains: Do you know any lecturers affected by supply chain issues during COVID? Delays on shipments led to student access issues, library closures made accessing texts (as opposed to purchasing them) more difficult, and Australian unemployment levels also exerted financial pressure on students. Textbooks are the only cost a lecturer can directly influence, and online open texts are readily accessible in various formats on the first day of semester.

Access and achievement: Many lecturers will report that enhancing engagement with learning resources is challenging. Whether it is due to cost, hesitancy to purchase, supply chain issues, or even perceived relevance to learning, there are several reasons why students do not engage with set texts. Ask lecturers ‘if we could guarantee access to the text on the first day of semester, would it affect student engagement and achievement?‘ Open texts can be stored locally, redistributed legally, and linked to via the learning management system, providing multiple access points.

Open-book exams: Librarians know that access to electronic texts is predicated on publisher restrictions – how many concurrent users? Does the version in the catalogue include the same features as a private version? How timely are publisher notifications of ‘downtime’ for maintenance and other issues? What is the cost to the library? If you know lecturers who are reluctant to assign an electronic text for these reasons (or have a negative experience), open texts could be a solution. 

Workload

Course renewal cycles: If you are involved in course/unit renewal or program accreditation cycles, this is an opportunity to suggest open texts. If the workload has been allocated to redeveloping the curriculum, existing allowances could be tasked to open education, with support from the Library. Additionally, a newly accredited program might become more attractive to students if they never need to purchase a text – so there is a market differential to consider. Open texts are then aligned with existing processes for setting and developing resources.

‘Scratch-the-itch’: Some lecturers have driving passions in learning and teaching and seek certain freedoms or innovations to support this drive. If you know lecturers like this (often ‘early adopters’ or ‘early followers’), you could align the freedoms of open licencing with their needs.

Collaboration: Reviewing, revising, and/or writing an entire text is daunting. Collaborative authorship can reduce the workload, has an in-built circle of peer reviewers, and (if the co-authors are across different institutions) provide an immediate impact on a large number of students. Authors seeking to demonstrate impact and even engage in research publication arising from their open education work would be well advised to seek out colleagues.

Research

Reputational: Open texts provide seamless access to a lecturer’s work, potentially expanding both reach and attention. Like the dialogue supporting Open Access research, open texts provide greater exposure and potential readership. These texts can be prompted via professional bodies and accrete interest based on access. Additionally, for smaller disciplines, researchers may collaborate (writing a chapter or more each) for a comprehensive national text.

Specialist knowledge: Every university has lecturers involved in specialist research that may have a smaller audience. This can mean publishers are loathed to invest in these texts, usually citing a project’s poor financial return. However, sometimes these lecturers have manuscripts (completed or not) that could be an excellent starting point for an open text.

‘Mind the Gap’: Australian research in open education is neither widespread nor sufficiently diversified for contemporary evidence-based practice examples. Nevertheless, researchers seeking to address aspects of Australian practice may be attracted by the prospect of using their open text work to generate research and reputation.

Students

Authorship opportunities: Learning design already includes the appropriate use of student authoring platforms, online annotation, and other types of resource creation. Identify lecturers who already use these assessments and link the activities to open outcomes. For example, students could co-author an open resource, design ancillary learning resources for a text (such as self-assessment quizzes or case studies), or undertake a structured review of existing content using annotation tools (like Hypothes.is). Open assessment practices may be well-aligned with these existing approaches or offer affordances that current approaches do not. There is also a strong connection between student-authored content and portfolios that support graduate employability.

Conclusion

The thirteen opportunities above rely on creating relationships with Faculty, connecting open education approaches with existing and emerging needs, and then leading an appropriate response. This type of practical advocacy is well within a librarian’s skill set and simply a different arena for current practice.

More opportunities and examples exist beyond this list. Add yours to the ‘Comment’ section below. Collaboration and sharing are cornerstones of librarianship and open education so be generous.

Enabling a Modern Curriculum 2022 Conference online program – Call for submissions

Share your work or ideas with peers – pitch your online mode presentation or lightning talk now!

The CAUL EMC Conference aims to bring together industry experts and sharing of evidence based practice, projects and innovations shaping our academic library work within tertiary education. This means your voice and your experiences are a core part to the success of this Conference.

Together we create sign
We want to know about the work you and your Library does! 
The CAUL Enabling the Modern Curriculum (EMC) Project is now inviting submissions for its inaugural Conference in September. Put forward a submission to be part of this hybrid event’s online offering (Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 September).

When are submissions due?

Submissions officially open today Friday 29 April! You have until Friday 27 May to get your submission in.

What does a submission involve?

It’s a short, sweet and not onerous format. There are two submission types to pitch for: 

  • Online Presentation (20 mins + 5 mins question time)
  • Online Lightning Talk (7 mins + potential question time)

The submissions need to reflect and engage with the following themes: 

  • Open Resources to Enable the Curriculum
  • Evolving our Digital Practices
  • Bending and Blending in Learning and Teaching
  • Partnering to Enable a Modern Curriculum

Themes are explained in more detail on the Call for submissions webpage.

What’s the submission process?

The submission process is simple. The Call for Submission webpage details information needed and links through to the submission portal. 

Where to find out more?

To check out the conference details or to make a submission visit the CAUL EMC website


This post was written by Lindsey Fratus (University of Newcastle Library), Liz Walkley Hall (Flinders University Library), Arlene O’Sullivan (La Trobe University) and Kat Cain (Deakin University Library)
All four writers are part of the CAUL EMC Conference project.

Community, collaboration and capability building: The OER Collective Community Day

Last week, CAUL launched the OER Collective with an inaugural Community Day for academics and library staff at 30 participating universities across Australia and New Zealand.

Highlights of the day included:

  • The Open Textbooks 101 session, which explore the basics of OERs generally and open textbooks specifically – what they are, how they work and the key benefits to academics, students and libraries.
  • A keynote from Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Program Director for Open Oregon. Amy provided lots of practical advice on how we can collaboratively push forward the open textbook agenda.
  • A panel discussion on open textbook advocacy, featuring academics and librarians from across Australia and New Zealand.
  • An extended Q&A session with a panel of experienced open practice librarians.

The event also featured short presentations about the OER Collective, including:

  • An overview of the Collective model
  • An introduction to the Communities of Practice
  • An introduction to the Collective Publishing Workflow and the documentation to support it
  • An introduction to the Collective Grants Program (EOIs now open!).

We had lots of great feedback:

This has been fantastic and inspirational. Thanks so much to all who ran it and contributed their knowledge on this topic.

I am very new to this space, so the sessions today have been a fantastic introduction to the world of OERs. The posting of links to resources that were being discussed throughout the sessions was super helpful. Thanks so much for organising the session and I’ll definitely be checking out the CAUL OER guide and joining the CoP.

Terrific, informative, collegial day today!

We can’t wait to do it again next year, but in the mean time, you can catch up on the event via the recording. The recording includes bookmarks so you can jump between the sessions.

You can also find a document containing all the links that were shared in the chat during the event on the event listing on the CAUL website.

Even if your institution isn’t participating in the Collective, there is lots of useful information and inspiration in the recording.

A huge big thank you to the OER Collective Project Team, particularly Tahnee Pearse, Fiona Tyson, Jaime Royals and Richard Levy, who all worked hard to bring the day together. Thanks also to our speakers and panelists, and CAUL’s Engagement & Administration Officer Cicy Zheng. Finally, a big thanks to the 300+ registrants who signed up for the event and joined us at various points during the day. The conversation in the chat was fantastic, and it was so good to see so many people together, furthering the conversation about open textbooks.

Applications for DIY Open Textbook Grants are now open!

UPDATE: Please note the deadline for submissions has been extended to 13 May 2022.

They may be free to access and use, but open textbooks aren’t free to produce. That’s why a grants program is a key feature of the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective.

There are costs involved in open textbook creation at various stages of the publishing cycle, some of which may be covered by institutions, while others may not. The costs don’t always involve invoices and payments, but may instead be time in someone’s workload, such as authors’ time or library staff time. If you’re writing an open textbook, or working with an author who is, some of the other costs you might encounter that require funding include those associated with:

  • Editing
  • Copyright permissions
  • Stipends for peer reviewers
  • Graphic design

To assist with these costs, academic authors at participating institutions in the Collective can now apply for a DIY Open Textbook Grant. To qualify for a grant, the open textbook is required to fall into one or more of four categories:

1. High impact. Open textbook projects in this category are targeted at first year, high enrolment courses (more than 200 students) in core disciplines.

2. Emerging disciplines. Open textbooks in this category have a specialised, novel, relatively fast growing subject area of focus with limited current textbook availability.

3. Australian and New Zealand content. Open textbook projects in this category are focused on Australian and/or New Zealand content in any discipline.

4. Rebalancing representation. Open textbook projects in this category are focused on subject matter or include content that aims to redress imbalances related to representation in academic literature, with priority given to ‘own voices’ projects (i.e. textbooks that will be written by authors with relevant lived experience).

Inclusion of Indigenous content written by Indigenous authors is encouraged across all categories, including content in or about Indigenous languages. Indigenous content must include experience or information that represents Indigenous peoples from Australia and/or New Zealand.

Grants of $1000, $2000 or $3000 (for one, two or three or more authors respectively) are available, and include additional funds for two $250 peer review stipends to be paid to peer reviewers.

Further details about the grants, including eligibility, requirements, timelines and evaluation criteria can be found in the 2022 Grants Guidelines. Links to the EOI form and submission form, as well as the Guidelines and key dates, are available here.

The grants are a great opportunity to assist authors to meet some of the costs associated with writing their open textbook as part of the Collective. If you are working with participating authors in your institution, please encourage them to apply!

The closing date for submissions is 29 April 2022. UPDATE: Please note the deadline for submissions has been extended to 13 May 2022.

Designing the OER Advocacy Toolkit: Notes from the Team

By Adrian Stagg (University of Southern Queensland), CAUL OER Advocacy Team Leader.

Later this year, the team will launch an OER Advocacy Toolkit designed to support and empower librarians in higher education to become advocates for open education at their institution.  Given the contextual differences across the sector, it might seem like a daunting task; however, there appear to be more points of commonality than we realised.  

Our team commenced its investigations by consulting with advocates in Australia and the United States and reviewing existing resources. Unsurprisingly, most advocacy resources are authored in the US and Canada, with very few from the UK and none related directly to OER and OEP for Australia. So we set about distilling those consultations and the review to provide clear guidance for the construction of the Toolkit.

Connection

  • The experience of many advocates is one of isolation.  Advocates are often driven by their values and intention to create change. The effort required for this is very exhausting long-term.  Connecting people helps normalise challenges, pool resources, share practice, and maintain momentum.
  • Librarians are at the forefront of open advocacy globally; initially, with open access (OA) research agendas, and now with open education. These two concepts are seen to be artificially separated rather than being seen as complementary, as governments and funding bodies explicitly promote OA research outcomes, whilst open education remains completely absent in strategies and targets for the sector.  Librarians are well-positioned to link these concepts (‘it’s open access publishing, but for learning and teaching’) for a holistic approach to institutional openness as they support academic staff in both research and teaching.

Communication

  • Librarians – and by extension, any advocates – are not usually empowered to directly change the status quo at scale, nor do they have the strongest voices in institutional forums.  Locating, recruiting, and mobilising stakeholders and champions is critical to OER advocacy success.
  • The Toolkit needs to consider a range of messages to be employed by librarians to link open education to university goals and to raise its profile nationally.  Providing key messages such as affordability, student success and retention, increased academic freedom, and improved learning and teaching help tailor communications.

Practicality

  • Toolkit resources need to address the practical questions and include concise ‘fact sheets’, workflows, surveys, videos, answers to ‘tough questions’, FAQ banks, presentation resources and exemplar campaigns.

Celebration 

  • As indicated previously, advocacy can be exhausting.  Sometimes change doesn’t happen, or sometimes it happens at a near-glacial pace. Advocates and practitioners need to take the time to celebrate milestones and communicate those successes to champions and stakeholders. 

What’s next?

The team is currently managing a review of the initial content and the core topics to be included in the Toolkit. Feedback from the open community is imperative at this stage.  We will have further posts about our approach, feedback, and forthcoming events scheduled at the CAUL Conference. 

In the meantime, if you are engaging in open advocacy, consider posting a comment below.  Tell the team what you’ve found most useful and share your experiences.

What we’ve learned about OER Professional Development

by Kylie Tran (Manager, Library Services and Spaces), University of Melbourne and Nikki Andersen (Open Education Content Librarian), University of Southern Queensland.

This year CAUL’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Professional Development (PD) Program will develop an OER program. In 2021, the project team undertook an environmental scan, literature review and stakeholder survey to inform the design and delivery of this program. Here is what we’ve learned about OER PD so far: 

What we learned from the environmental scan

The purpose of our environmental scan was to gain an understanding of the OER PD programs already on offer around the world. From the environmental scan we learned that:

  • The majority of OER professional development programs were predominantly American. Surprisingly very few were located from Europe or the United Kingdom
  • The OER programs identified used a mixture of platforms and tools. The majority were self-paced courses that offered modular learning
  • Most programs and resources were created for, and aimed at, educators (academics/teaching staff/instructors). Some courses were aimed at both educators and students, such as USQ’s MOOC Repurposing Open Educational Resources: An Introduction. The minority were aimed at library staff
  • The vast majority of programs and resources did not require payment to access or complete. In some instances, programs were freely accessible, but users had the option of paying for a certificate or similar credential
  • The majority of programs do not provide credentials or it was unknown if they did provide them following completion
  • Unsurprisingly, many of the programs included a Creative Commons license, enabling opportunities to reuse and acknowledge the content of the programs and resources. 

What we learned from the literature review

From the literature review we learned that: 

  • The research favoured a whole course approach to capacity building, as opposed to ad-hoc workshops
  • Successful PD programs placed learners in authentic real-world learning contexts, highlighting the importance of situating OER knowledge in participants’ work environments 
  • There was a wide variation in the inclusion of assessment and granting of credentials on completion 
  • The creation of a community of practice or mentorship was supported by the literature, with these networks helping participants grow and develop their OER proficiency 
  • The primary barrier to the completion of OER PD was the ability for participants to allocate time to complete PD, highlighting the importance of organisational support for staff to undertake PD

What we learned from the stakeholder survey

From the stakeholder survey, we learned that: 

  • Most institutions and individuals would find an OER PD program valuable 
  • The PD needs across Library staff are highly variable, from introductory to specialised
  • The majority of respondents favoured (i) self-directed, primarily asynchronous online courses or programs offered over an extended study period followed by (ii) online seminar or lecture series (curated program of linked seminars). 

We look forward to providing an OER PD Program to you all. Stay tuned!

Co-Designing Deakin Library’s Strategic Plan: Project Update

This post was written by Dr Mollie Dollinger, Equity-First, Students as Partners Lecturer at Deakin University.

Deakin University is one of the 11 institutions participating in the Students as Partners project within CAUL’s Enabling the Modern Curriculum Program. The Deakin University project is called ‘Co-Designing Your Future Library’ and aims to take a collaborative approach towards creating the library strategic plan. The project is led by University Librarian Hero Macdonald, Dr Mollie Dollinger and Paul McKenna.

In the project, university library staff are matched with student mentors in a 1:1 dialogue. The sessions are held entirely online (via Zoom) and are approximately 1 hour in duration. To support the dialogue, the project team supplies each pair a scaffolded set of design thinking activities, including mind maps and storyboards, that help guide the conversation and generate novel ideas and solutions.

Participation was entirely voluntary, with 50 university library staff opting in, and 100 students (each staff member had approximately two meetings, each with one student). Students were recruited centrally and spanned various courses, degrees, and cohorts. All students who participated were awarded a $50 gift card to acknowledge their contribution. University library staff also represented the variety of departments and teams within the library, ensuring a wide breadth of views and perspectives.

Sabina Robertson (Manager, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment Library Services) reflected on their participation in the project:

“The co-design project was unexpected opportunity to connect and learn from a student’s experience.  Students come from such diverse backgrounds; their lives are complex and for some demanding. Somehow university study fits in amongst work, family and health issues.”

Similarly, Clare Carlsson (Director, Client Services and Deputy University Librarian), also shared their thoughts:

“I was amazed at how open and engaged the students were with their feedback and think they pretty chuffed to be asked- this process was great for building stronger student relationships”

Students who participated in the project have also been positive about their experience, citing how the process underscored how much the university cared about their opinions and experiences.

Analysis on the data collected from the project is still underway, with a report (and peer reviewed journal article) expected this year.  Watch this space!