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.

Join the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective

This post was written by Chloe Czerwiec, Senior Librarian (Copyright) at the University of Western Australia. Chloe is a member of the CAUL OER Collective Pilot project team.

We’re calling it early – 2022 will be the year of the OER! With the various CAUL project teams busy beavering away behind the scenes, 2022 will bring some amazing opportunities to learn about, advocate for, and be involved in creating OERs.    

One such opportunity is the CAUL OER Collective. 

The OER Collective will provide an opportunity for participating CAUL Member institutions to publish open textbooks without investing in a platform, and to build institutional capability. It will also provide opportunities for collaborative, cross-institutional development of open textbooks. 

Watch this short video for a concise overview of the Collective model:

Detailed information about the Collective model is also available on the CAUL website.

Break it down for me – what are the benefits?

We’re glad you asked. By joining the initial “Connect” tier of the Collective (at a cost of $2,500 per year), participating institutions will have:

  • space to publish up to two open textbooks on the shared Pressbooks platform per year
  • access to training, guides and templates
  • access to two communities of practice – one for library staff, and one for academic authors
  • the opportunity for academic authors at their institution to apply for DIY Textbook Author Grants.

Call for participation is now open

The Collective was originally due to launch in January, but – COVID (need we say more). The Collective will now be launching in March, which means there is still time to for CAUL Member institutions to sign up. To express interest, please email Dr Kate Davis, Director, Strategy & Analytics, by Friday 28 January

Need more information?

The paper Introducing the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective provides a detailed outline of the Collective model, with a focus on the initial Connect tier.

A year of Enabling the Modern Curriculum

This post was written by Fiona Salisbury, Executive Director Library and University Librarian at La Trobe University. Fiona is a member of the CAUL Board and the Program Director for the Enabling a Modern Curriculum Program.

It’s been just over 12 months since we launched the CAUL Enabling a Modern Curriculum Program. I am amazed at what has been achieved in this period—but, not surprised! The Program is an example of what 40 library practitioners from 28 institutions can do when they get together to have some fun with five projects. At the end of a very busy year full of competing priorities, I am delighted to say that all projects are on track and some major milestones have been met in 2021.

The Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot Project team developed the Open Educational Resources (OER) Collective model, which was endorsed by the CAUL Board at its November meeting. In developing the model the Project team reviewed the literature, scanned the environment, and surveyed CAUL members. The result is a robust model that will provide an opportunity for participating institutions to publish open textbooks on a shared platform and build institutional capability. It will also provide opportunities for collaborative, cross-institutional development of open textbooks. The OER Collective model will commence from January 2022 and the call for participation is now open. The OER Collective is underpinned by communities of practice for library staff and academics, and the Project team is now working on resources and events that will be part of the launch of the communities of practice in the New Year.

The Open Educational Resources Professional Development Program Project team developed a proposal for an OER professional development (PD) program, which was endorsed by the CAUL Board at its November meeting. There are few OER PD programs available for library staff so this program will fill a gap for library practitioners and allied colleagues in Australia and New Zealand. Informed by a literature review, an environmental scan, and feedback from CAUL members, the OER PD program will be for both experienced and novice practitioners. The aim is to build capacity in leadership of OER practice relating to open textbooks, open educational practices and pedagogy, advocacy, and communications. Next steps for the project team include developing a detailed course overview, structure, and delivery timeline.

The Open Educational Resources Advocacy Project team progressed thinking about how academic libraries can best tackle the issue of raising the visibility of the OER agenda in the higher education sector and nationally. The critical nature of this task cannot be underestimated, and to inform their thinking the team collected data on institutional and individual perspectives on OERs, consulted with key contacts, completed a review of existing OER advocacy resources, and curated a collection of fifty exemplary assets. The team has laid the groundwork for the next step, which is to develop an OER advocacy toolkit proposal that will go to the CAUL Board for endorsement in 2022.

The Enabling a Modern Curriculum with Students as Partners (SaP) Project team launched the National Review of ‘Students as Partners’ in Australian Academic Libraries and completed a national survey of academic libraries across Australia to understand their current perceptions, practices and goals around SaP. Respondents included 15 university librarians and 182 library staff. The project team reported on their preliminary research findings and highlighted project initiatives at the recent Students as Partners roundtable. Individual team members also developed 11 SaP case study projects to be undertaken in their respective libraries. When completed, these case studies and other examples collected via the survey, will create an evidence base to inform a practice toolkit to support CAUL member institutions to engage with student partners as routine academic library practice. What’s more, in 2022 the team will model a SaP approach by collaborating with students on the development of the toolkit.

The CAUL Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference Project team developed a conference proposal, which was endorsed by the CAUL Board at its September meeting. The conference dates are set – Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 September 2022 for the online program, and Tuesday 13 September for the face to face events in five capital cities – so make sure CAUL’s inaugural conference is in your calendar. The Project team has planned a hybrid event that will include a mix of workshops, online keynotes and in-person events.  There are four conference themes:

  • Open Resources to enable the curriculum
  • Evolving our digital practices
  • Bending and blending in learning and teaching
  • Partnership to enable a modern curriculum.

Stay tuned for more information and a call for participation in March 2022.

It’s been inspiring working with the project team leaders and their teams this year. Each project team has a distinctive focus and is getting on with the task at hand. A strong emphasis on evidence and engagement through CAUL member surveys and briefing sessions, wide promotion of the projects, creative video production, and blog posts are characteristic of the way the teams work. Since mid-September there have been 20 posts here on the Enabling a Modern Curriculum blog. The blog has an international following, and its scope extends beyond the projects to all the ways libraries enable the curriculum. I encourage you to contribute to the clog in 2022. If you are interested contact a member of the blog editorial team who will be happy to hear from you.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved and contributed to the CAUL Enabling a Modern Curriculum Program this year. This overview doesn’t do justice to the enormous effort and huge contribution of individuals and project teams. I’d like to thank our Project Team Leaders (Marion Slawson – FedUni; Tahnee Pearse – USQ; Adrian Stagg – USQ; Dr Nicole Johnson – ECU; Dr Mollie Dollinger – Deakin), project team members, Dr Kate Davis and staff in the CAUL National Office. It’s a collective effort sustaining such a vibrant and dynamic program. But intentionally positioning academic libraries to build national partnerships to enable the transformation of learning and teaching at their institutions is well worth every effort.

The blog editorial team will be taking a break over the next few weeks. You can expect to hear from us again in the second week in January. We hope everyone in our community has a chance to wind down and take time out over the festive period.

Textbooks: The future is open

This post was written by Fiona Tyson, Kaiwhakahaere Taonga Tuku Iho | Manager, Cultural Heritage & Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury. Fiona is also a member of the OER Collective Pilot project team. Fiona can be contacted at fiona.tyson@canterbury.ac.nz or on Twitter @Libfifi.

In recent years, the textbook publishing market has been changing in response to demand for e-textbooks and declining sales to students. The advent of COVID-related lockdowns intensified the emergence of new textbook publishing models for tertiary libraries (Gray & O’Shea, 2021; Van Malderen, 2021), usually aimed at one of two outcomes:

  • Limit academic library provision of textbook access (through expensive limited user licenses and download limits) – presumably to leverage individual textbook sales.
  • Provide cohort access to prescribed textbooks through expensive institutional subscription models based on enrolments.

As academic library professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand, we came together to share our experiences and talk about open educational resources (OERs) as alternatives to commercial textbooks. We quickly realised that while there was recent research on New Zealand students’ perspectives of textbooks (Brown et al., 2020; Stein et al., 2017) and we understood librarian perspectives of textbooks, we didn’t have concrete evidence of academic perspectives.

This was a significant gap, since academics are the market for academic publishers (and, often the authors – but that’s another blog post).

Academics hold considerable market power in the textbook market as what they select drives student and tertiary library purchasing.

Our research group launched a national survey, asking academics about how they used textbooks in teaching, their selection criteria, their experience during COVID-19 lockdowns and their perspectives on OERs. Members of our research group are Sara Roberts (University of Canterbury), Lisa Davies (University of Canterbury), Associate Professor Cheryl Brown (University of Canterbury) and Richard White (University of Otago), with support from Zhanni Luo. A more detailed analysis of our data from a recent presentation is available here and we anticipate more data/analysis will be forthcoming.

How do academics use textbooks?

We found that academics were well aware that the cost of, and access to, textbooks was an issue for students. They also reported that many students did not use the textbook, particularly from academics working in hard-pure disciplines (e.g. Chemistry, Physics).*

*In order to meaningfully analyse respondents by disciplinary group, we divided disciplines into hard-pure (e.g. Chemistry, Physics), soft pure (e.g. History, Philosophy), hard-applied (e.g. Engineering, Computer Science), and soft applied (e.g. Economics, Education), according to criteria first articulated by Biglan (1973).

Nonetheless, academics reported textbook practices based on the traditional print textbook model, assuming that the majority of students would purchase the book. Approximately 50% of respondents reported often or always teaching into courses with prescribed textbooks, mostly frequently setting one or two chapters of the textbook as readings. Other frequent usage was to structure a course around the textbook or set over half of the textbook as readings. Setting prescribed texts when using just one or two chapters suggests academics’ textbook practices are not aligned with their awareness of students’ perspectives.

This disconnect was made even clearer when we asked respondents what percentage of students they thought were purchasing prescribed textbooks.

Academic estimates regarding how many students buy the prescribed textbook.

It was not possible to draw a meaningful statistic from our data because the answers ranged from 0-100%. (Although, academics working in hard-pure disciplines did express a more realistic view of how many students were purchasing the textbook).

Academic perceptions of library textbook services & lockdowns

We were also interested in academic perceptions of tertiary libraries’ textbook services. Academics reported offering prescribed textbook alternatives such as requesting academic libraries put textbooks in high use collections, requesting academic libraries purchase textbooks, or recommending earlier editions. Interestingly, a number of respondents distinguished between getting an e-version and asking the library to purchase a textbook, suggesting academics don’t equate the library purchasing copies of textbooks with the library purchasing e-textbooks.

Furthermore, survey respondents almost always took price for students into account in textbook selection, but almost 60% of respondents reported rarely or never taking into account the price for the library. Given the financial pressures academic libraries face with textbook provision, we believe this finding indicates a need for academic libraries to be open and honest with academics about how the commercial textbook market is changing.

Libraries also need to communicate the pedagogical implications for academics of these changing models – both in terms of their own workload and the implications for student success. Academics reported on their experiences in lockdown in our survey, with around 20% sharing that textbook access became a significant issue when teaching moved online. Accordingly, they reported that an electronic format was an increasingly important factor in textbook selection. If academic libraries do not take the lead in talking about textbook practices and promoting viable e-textbooks models, such as adopting, adapting or creating open textbooks, the move to e-textbooks will only increase the financial pressure on libraries.

The way forward

Our survey confirmed that, by and large, tertiary educators in Aotearoa New Zealand are prescribing and using textbooks under the assumptions of the traditional print textbook model. The evidence suggests while they are aware of student perspectives, they do not materially grasp how these traditional textbook practices no longer align with the textbook publishing market, affecting students, academic libraries and, increasingly, their own pedagogical practices.

Academic libraries must lead in this space to ensure equity for students and maintain their role as information experts on campus.

References

Unity in Diversity: Findings from the Open Textbooks in Australia project

This post was written by Frank Ponte, Manager Library Services (Teaching) at RMIT University.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash.
Image caption: The phrase “Unity in Diversity” graffitied on a wall.

This post summarises the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin University Seminar Series panel session titled “Open Textbooks in Australia: updated, localised, inclusive.” The session was facilitated by Helen Partridge (Pro-Vice Chancellor – Teaching and Learning, Deakin University) with research findings presented by Chief Investigator Dr Sarah Lambert (RMIT University). Observations were contributed by panel members Fiona Salisbury (University Librarian – La Trobe University), Dr Johanna Funk (Lecturer – Charles Darwin University) and Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe (Queensland University of Technology).

A recording of the session is available on YouTube.

Why open textbooks?

Open textbooks are relatively new to the Australian context but are gaining prominence alongside their commercial equivalents. An open textbook provides the ability to modify content to suit your context. An appetite for customised content is increasing, but it becomes a question of time and funds for the creator to support the publication process. There are emerging local institutional investments in the creation of open textbooks at La Trobe, USQ and Sydney University Press to name a few.  

Findings of the National Scoping Study

The overarching research question of the Open Textbook in Australia project is: “What extent do open textbooks have the potential to act as social justice initiatives in Australian Higher Education as they do overseas?” The project applied a social justice framework which, when applied to open textbooks, demonstrates that prescribing free materials widens the access to learners from lower socio-economic backgrounds (see Lambert, 2018). The inclusion of case studies, images, indigenous and marginalised narratives in open textbooks provides recognition of diverse views and experiences and the ability for those marginalised voices to express their stories for themselves rather than be recounted by others.

Both staff and students in the study expressed that commercial textbooks demonstrated a lack of recognition when it came to marginalised groups. Commercial textbooks ignored narratives associated with women, LGBT, and indigenous people and were often voiced through a Eurocentric point of view. Inclusive texts were framed as exceptions and interviews with participants were layered with emotion as people articulated negative experiences due to a lived experience of racism.

Belonging and cultural inclusion are important themes in higher education. A lack of belonging can increase feelings of anxiety and depression and hinder study. Consequently, if commercial textbooks lack marginalised narratives and diverse viewpoints, one can draw parallels. The results also demonstrated that students were irritated at the restrictive nature of digital access to commercial texts, the inability to get digital copies and the requirement to employ complex workarounds for alternatives. Textbook costs were also an issue but there was more angst expressed on the digital restrictions.

Unity in Diversity – Open textbooks to the rescue

The survey results showed that 80-90% of teaching staff were open to using open educational resources in teaching with institutional support. 73% were interested in modifying an open textbook and making it relevant to the Australian context and 67% would modify the textbook to make it more representative of marginalised groups.

Staff felt that diversified texts provided a wider variety of perspectives and would better prepare students for the world and workplace. Students who had experienced diversified open access readings agreed.

The research clearly demonstrated that there were social justice benefits to the modification of open texts especially for the underrepresented. The use of open textbooks in curriculum also provided several general benefits, including free access for all, seamless integration into the LMS, and up to date knowledge for better graduate outcomes preparing them for their professions and a diverse workforce.

What’s required?

Institutional support is important in the form of time and grants, particularly for large scale projects. Support from expert staff such as librarians, graphic designers, copy editors, peer reviewers, and proof-readers are all important aspects of textbook creation.

Recommendations:

  1. Reframe OER projects and broaden the scope to both social inclusion and economic benefits
  2. Reframe OER projects as strategic digital innovation linking digital delivery + curriculum renewal + equity/accessibility policies
  3. Push for continued open access publishing for research
  4. Reframe OER as legitimate works and address workload, probation, promotion and publishing outputs
  5. Reframe grant-funding to ensure that OER support strategic curriculum renewal; equity inclusion; focus on 1st year foundation subjects; recognition of indigenous knowledges; improve gender representation

How do we do it?

To get to where we need to be will require a lot of capacity building across the sector. This could be achieved through:

  • The production of targeted support guides and training workshops
  • Using OER metafinders and aggregators
  • Cross promoting Australian OER resources
  • Training staff in OER curation and creative commons
  • Co-creating with students, staff, community through ethical partnerships
  • Amplifying marginalised voices in your creation
  • Supporting staff to diversify curriculum

The OER movement should tailor development of open resources to fit into the policy and strategic directions established locally at each institution, rather than wait for funding from government legislators.

Policy options

Universities could:

  1. Consider using an OER textbook before a commercial one in new courses
  2. Consider an alternative if there is restricted or no digital access to a textbook
  3. Use OER textbooks for open book exams
  4. Ensure there are targets and timelines for implementation
  5. Have acceptable use guidelines for commercial textbook platforms
  6. Develop strategic sector wide collaboration focusing on high intake, foundation courses that are taught across the sector  

Find out more

This was a fascinating session that is well worth watching, especially for the insightful panel session that followed the summary of the research findings. Findings from Sarah’s research will inform the CAUL OER projects so sign up to the blog to keep up-to-date!

Reference: Lambert, S. R. (2018). Changing our (Dis)Course: A Distinctive Social Justice Aligned Definition of Open Education. Journal of Learning for Development, 5(3), 225–244. https://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/290/334

Connect, learn, and collaborate with CAUL

Our 2022 CAUL conference goal is to bring people together to explore the challenges and opportunities afforded by the modern curriculum.

Do you work in an academic library?  Are you interested in student partnerships, open ed resources, digital pedagogies and practices? Well do I have good Friday news! There’s a new conference on the block that’s right up your alley.

CAUL is launching a hybrid conference in September next year with the umbrella theme “Enabling a Modern Curriculum”. Just as we’ve all been experimenting and adapting Library services to very changeable times, this conference will offer an innovative model. Both online and in-person events will be part of the 2022 CAUL Conference. What’s exciting is that the in-person interactive events will run synchronously across multiple states. Collaboration and communication will be key both on the day and in the organising of it!

The 2022 CAUL Conference is all about connections in both digital and face-to face spaces. It’s about sharing work experiences and showcasing research to better shape our practice. It’s about getting to know experts in your field and building your personal network. It’s about bringing together outcomes from all the CAUL Enabling the Modern Curriculum projects. It’s also about practical workshops that will add to your existing skillsets.

An animated brief

Check out this video (also embedded below) that in less than 2 minutes unpacks the what, when, who and how details of the 2022 CAUL Conference.

If you’re the kind of person who loves to deep dive into data (not uncommon tendency in Library folk) then more information can be found in the CAUL Conference Project brief

Our team

The CAUL Conference Project Team is ably led by Dr Nicole Johnston (Edith Cowan University). With the following team members working with her from across Australia:  Lindsey Fratus (University of Newcastle), Naomi Mullumby (University of Melbourne), Sue Hutley (Bond University), Frances O’Neal (Victoria University), Arlene O’Sullivan (La Trobe University), Liz Walkley Hall (Flinders University), and, yours truly, Kat Cain (Deakin University).

What’s next?

Stay tuned for more 2022 CAUL Conference news in the months to come. The project team will be working to bring you updates and ways to get involved. And I highly recommend subscribing to this very blog to keep in the know.

Introducing the Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot project

Open educational resources (OER) are expanding rapidly as a more equitable, flexible and adaptable medium to provide content for teaching and learning, but creating OER texts can feel daunting. The good news is that you don’t need to do it alone!

The CAUL OER Collective Pilot project offers the opportunity to have a go at creating open textbooks in a supportive, collaborative environment.

Sounds good – tell me more!

CAUL is now leading a major initiative to develop, licence and promote a range of OER that leverages the expertise of librarians, copyright experts, academics and authors. The project will oversee the entire open textbook lifecycle, including:

  • Establishing models for governance, management and membership
  • Leading administration and publishing processes
  • Guiding the selection and production of open textbook titles 

The project brief (PDF) provides more detail on the deliverables and timeline. 

This video introduces the CAUL OER Collective Pilot project and highlights the benefits for students, academics and libraries, as well as a summary of recent Australian research into OER. Keep an eye out for guest appearances by members of the project team.

Our team

The project team, led by Tahnee Pearse (University of Southern Queensland), includes Chloe Czerwiec (University of Western Australia), Anna Du Chesne (University of New England), Samantha Elkington-Dent (University of the Sunshine Coast), Richard Levy (University of South Australia), Jane Norton (Charles Sturt University), Craig Patterson (Deakin University), Frank Ponte (RMIT University), Jaime Royals (University of Adelaide), Ashley Sutherland (University of Melbourne) and Fiona Tyson (University of Canterbury).

Interested in being involved?

Subscribe to the blog to receive project updates and keep an eye out for the call for members coming in November 2021!

How we’re Enabling a Modern Curriculum

1 CAUL program, 5 projects, 28 institutions, 40 team members and 1 new blog!

As the Program Director for CAUL’s Enabling a Modern Curriculum program, I am excited and delighted to launch the program blog. The purpose of this blog is to keep the library and higher education communities up to date on the program’s progress. With the five projects in the program well underway there is lots to share, and you can expect a regular parade of posts in this space. Project team members are looking forward to providing highlights, sharing work-in-progress, giving news updates, and putting out calls to action.

The CAUL Enabling a Modern Curriculum program is designed to bring together the expertise of library staff and academics in two critical and emerging aspects of the modern curriculum – open educational resources (OER) and students as partners. While our definition of a modern curriculum is broad, focussing on these two areas has the most potential to enable and transform future library practice. Enabling a modern curriculum is a shared endeavour, and the program’s aim is to influence a national agenda in these key areas. In leading a reimagining of how libraries enable the curriculum, CAUL is also supporting library staff to make a difference to the student learning experience and student success at a local level.

Where we started

The program kicked off with a Zoom workshop in September 2020, and we started how we intend to continue – with librarians and academics in dialogue in a collaborative and thought-provoking environment. When reflecting on how academic libraries might enable a modern curriculum the things that jumped out at me as needing more attention were OER, student wellbeing, and students as partners. I invited three academics to the workshop to speak to these issues and the associated current challenges facing the HE sector: Professor Helen Partridge on open education, Professor Sally Kift on student wellbeing, and Dr Mollie Dollinger on students as partners. Their presentations were provocative and the conversation that flowed into the breakout rooms was energised and creative. Collectively the 93 workshop participants wrestled with and debated the issues and affirmed key priorities for the program. On closer analysis of the workshop deliberations, it was clear that in OER space we would need to tackle national OER advocacy, OER professional development, and collaborative open textbook creation for the Australian and New Zealand environment. Additionally, I also thought we needed a forum to showcase insights from the projects and make visible a range of good practice initiatives related to all the ways libraries enable the curriculum.

Five projects emerged

So, all things considered, the program started 2021 with five projects:

How we’re working together

Our ways of working within and across projects encourages experimentation, collective thinking, and sector-wide collaboration. The program is ambitious, but all the projects are in good hands and have an enthusiastic and talented team. Each week I meet with Dr Kate Davis from the CAUL National Office and the Project Team leads – Tahnee Pearse (OER Collective Pilot), Marion Slawson (OER PD Program), Adrian Stagg (OER Advocacy), Dr Mollie Dollinger (Students as partners), Dr Nicole Johnson (CAUL Conference). It’s a great team, and together, our careful stewardship of the projects is ensuring that this impressive program has every chance of realising its objective to transform national and local practice, and will position libraries as key partners in enabling a modern curriculum through OER, and with students as partners.

I’d like to thank the 40 library practitioners from 28 institutions who are collaborating on these five projects. This is important work that has not yet been attempted in this way on a national scale. And, more importantly, I hope everyone involved is having fun and forging new professional friendships (the unwritten objectives of involvement in the program!).

Watch this space

To library and academic colleagues who are interested, or curious, or feel inspired by the program, there will be plenty of opportunities to be involved over the coming two years. Watch this space, and when opportunities arise your contribution will be warmly welcomed.