Why I started writing an open text and why I’m glad I did!

This post was written by Dr Bronte van der Hoorn, Senior Lecturer (Project Management), University of Southern Queensland

What academic has time to write an open text? Here’s why I embarked on writing my open text – it’s about using visuals in management – and why I’m glad I did.

Who is willing to print a colour book?

Central to my open text is a catalogue of visual diagrams, and these visuals had to be produced in colour. Mainstream publishers are nervous about colour-print runs, particularly if the potential readership is (relatively) small, and the market (and author!) untested. Incorporating colour diagrams was no problem for University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Open Educational Practice!

Diagram representing building with five pillars. Pillar one states 'values first project.' Pillar  two states ' company restructure.' Pillar three states 'customer first training.' Pillar four states 'ICT refresh project and pillar five states back to market project.'
Diagram with arrow in center and six arrows pointing at diagram. It is a depiction of KPIs for a fictitious organisation. It includes KPIs such as 24 hour call center, 25% frontline staff increase

My book’s usefulness relied on the reader downloading files

My reader would get maximum value from the book by downloading and adapting the visuals for their own work. Sure, mainstream publishing can set-up a website for such ‘add ons’, but with an open text the downloads could be embedded in the book, thereby providing a fully integrated experience for the reader. 

I wanted to give back to my research participants

Recruiting research participants is never easy. I always feel bad that I’m asking participants to volunteer their time for very little personal benefit. It’s not that the participants’ input doesn’t result in research outputs. But my research participants don’t share the same view as Q1 journal editors in terms of what constitutes a worthy ‘contribution’. An open text was a way to communicate my research in a way that could make a difference to practice.

Students want a take-away from their study

My current students get access to lots of eBooks and journal articles, and for many the loss of access to these resources at time of graduation is cause for disappointment. When I chose to publish an open text, I knew that at least this course resource would be accessible for students post-study – and they could share it with colleagues who weren’t students as well! 

As I started writing, I was also surprised about some unexpected advantages of open text publishing…

An unexpected level of interactivity

As I started writing my open text, I came across multimedia content that would make the book more engaging. The amazing USQ Open Educational Practice team encouraged me to make use of Pressbooks multimedia and H5P capabilities and embedded videos in the volume and created dynamic hover-overs to enable interactive annotation of each visual, that helps make the book’s content clearer. The book also incorporates a H5P slider preview that enables the reader to quickly flick through each visual – that’s not possible in a hardcopy publication! 

A screen capture of an interactive H5P object in the textbook. It depicts change over time.

Connecting me to academia

I was always committed to my open text project but my excitement when my ‘writing’ day came around each week surprised even me. Any academic knows the competing demands we face and that finding time to write an open text isn’t easy amongst the pressure to produce top quartile articles, teaching duties, and never-ending admin requests. 

However, I found this project to be refreshingly different to my other academic (and admin) work! My open text was a space for me to express my passion for the topic in a manner that accurately represented my ideas and made them accessible for my target reader. And this was a novel luxury! I acknowledge here that the USQ Open Educational Practice team were abundantly accommodating of my vision, they trusted me as the content expert to make design decisions (another delightful novelty!) and worked tirelessly to see my vision come to life. 

It was during the writing of my open text that I have felt most ‘academic’. Not ‘academic’ in a theoretical, distant, clinical way – but in the way I had hoped academia would be; I was making accessible a topic that I continue to learn (research) about and was helping others to learn and grow interest and capability in that area too – not just in my classrooms, but hopefully beyond.

A whisper growing to a roar

This post was written by Bec Muir (Manager, Libraries West) at Victoria University.

Guides, connectors, finders, interpreters: multiple roles of frontline staff

Supporting our frontline Library staff in enabling the modern curriculum

Frontline library staff are integral partners in the modern curriculum. They are the librarians, library technicians, and advisory staff who provide front-of-house services to our academic communities. Frontline staff may have a qualification in librarianship, library technician, or teaching; or have other academic qualifications such as certificates, diplomas, bachelors, or higher degrees. They are very highly skilled, qualified, or both.

The less-seen impact of frontline staff

Our frontline staff are a very present and very visible element of Library service, working as finders, guides, connectors, and interpreters of the modern curriculum. They empower their academic community to step confidently beyond the university by building their information literacy, knowledge of academic integrity, and digital dexterity. They instruct, demonstrate, troubleshoot, and guide students and academic staff through the information journey. Often their work is done quietly, conducted one-to-one at the service desk or via the online chat service instead of before a class. In short, the role of frontline staff in the modern curriculum is a whisper rather than a roar.

Why is this a concern?

By overlooking the role of frontline staff in the modern curriculum, the library misses an opportunity to improve its connection with our learning community and enrich their educational journey. If we do not see the role of frontline staff in this space, we risk not developing and upskilling our Library staff to enact these roles, which can disempower them in their interactions with our students and staff. This in turn can disempower our academic community.

Individual and institutional commitment to professional development

If academic libraries are to fully enact their role in supporting the modern curriculum, professional development of frontline staff should be seen as a key strategic and operational objective. Shared institutional and individual responsibility for ongoing professional development (at all staffing levels) is a vital way to grow industry and professional robustness. This ultimately benefits our academic community by enriching the Library’s ability to speak to their educational needs. Once there’s a commitment to professional development, where can frontline staff access professional learning?

Industry-developed learning opportunities

There are many existing tools and resources that frontline staff can draw on for professional learning. A good place to start is with a framework that maps skills, knowledge and capabilities such as the Digital Dexterity Framework. Conference attendance – such as ALIA Information Online, the Library Technicians Symposium or the new 2022 CAUL Enabling a Modern Curriculum Conference – provide a way for frontline staff to engage in active learning from their peers. Platforms such as 23 Things for Digital Knowledge and FutureLearn, and initiatives like Library Carpentry  provide self-directed and cost-effective learning. Sector magazines, such as Incite, provide a consumable way to stay industry engaged and empower staff to see broader institutional responses to change.

Library-developed training opportunities

Library-developed training can prepare frontline staff to meet the challenges of the modern curriculum and the curriculum beyond that.However, a concern with library-developed training is that it may take a ‘trickle down’ approach where the program is developed by senior staff, and trickled down to instruct frontline staff in expected performance. Rather than being partners in the modern curriculum, frontline staff may be seen as trainees, or even students. While this may not be intentional, it can result in staff feeling silenced, lost, or disengaged from the training as a result. It is not ‘their training’, but ‘the library’s’.

A learner-led learning (triple-L model) opportunity

In contrast to library-developed training, learner-led learning shifts the balance in the learning relationship to one of mutual benefit. I envision learner-led learning (‘triple-L model’) as a training delivery framework shaped around scaffolded learning, shared authority, professional reflection, and learner engagement. The triple-L model creates an environment where the learner feels able to reshaping existing knowledge to build skills for future needs. Triple-L approaches training from a position of partnership.

The triple-L model approaches professional development across five phases, commencing with a position of partnership and concluding with a commitment to evaluation for success. While it is beyond the scope of this blogpost to fully unpack this model, it has already been tested at Victoria University. The triple-L model formed the foundation of our frontline training suite, DigiChat. More importantly, the triple-L model has cemented to every frontline staff member that the role that they play in the modern curriculum is an important one.

The implementation of this model occurred simply and organically from a position of partnering for success. Our frontline team were asked a single straight forward question: ‘what do you find hard when helping our patrons on LibChat?’. ‘Hard’ here was left broad; for some frontline staff multi-tasking became the challenge point, for others identifying the core of the question and conveying an answer, for still others discovering the resource required. We then reflected on position descriptions and changes in the industry to identify any areas missed. We observed that three theme areas were emerging in our frontline team’s identified needs: customer service, digital skills, and professional identity. These themes became the burgeoning phases of the DigiChat cycle: each enriching and speaking back to the other.

From these proposed sessions and phases, we sought reflection and input from our frontline team and engaged staff in a process of co-creation and sharing of skills. A learning theory foundation was employed that limited the length of sessions and introduced a scaffolded theory of staggered skills, in addition to building in opportunities for reflection through doing (theoretical activities); thinking (Teams chats and sharing); ownership (on-the-job skill usage); and growth (tying to current and future skills). Lastly, an important part of this process was embedded in the evaluation mechanism: a survey at the end of each session which asked our frontline team to reflect on their learnings and how they would apply it, and why, in addition to reflecting on the presentation and the presenter. This process yielded great results that have built our frontline team to meet (and embrace) the changes of the curriculum both in its current iteration, and into the future.

A stronger voice

We are all partners in enabling the modern curriculum. Through identifying the needs and skills of our frontline teams, enriching learnings and abilities, and visualising their value in the modern curriculum, the role that our staff play in this capacity changes. Recognising the role of our frontline staff means that we are all better enabled – as a Library and as a sector – to respond to the challenges of the modern curriculum.

A whisper growing to a roar.

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.

Lock in the 2022 CAUL EMC Conference into your calendar and your plans

This post was written by Kat Cain (Deakin University Library), Lindsey Fratus (University of Newcastle Library), Liz Walkley Hall (Flinders University Library). All three writers are part of the CAUL EMC Conference project.

What does 2022 look like for you and your work in the academic Library sector? Many of us have strat plans with OER goals or students as partners as top level foci. The moving feast of “Read and Publish” is shaking up Open Access outcomes across the board. And while our core business has always been aligning with tertiary learning and teaching goals, new ways to flexibly engage and enable curriculum have become a heightened priority. On top of this, we’re all dealing with evolving digital practices impacting learning, research and everyday ways of working. 

Exchanging ideas & experiences across industry.

The inaugural CAUL 2022 Enabling the Modern Curriculum Conference has been specifically designed for our academic library community.

It offers new learnings and practice-based knowledge for expert staff across the Australia and New Zealand industry to embed in their work.

What practical action should you take? 

  1. Lock in the CAUL EMC Conference into your 2022 calendar
  2. Start thinking about sharing and showcasing your Library’s work or learnings

What are the dates?

Remember it’s a hybrid event so the conference dates for both in-person and online experiences:

  • Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 September for the online program 
  • Tuesday 13 September for the face-to-face events in five capital cities.

What is the Conference all about?

This conference offers you and your institution the chance to exchange ideas and experience in a novel way. Using a hybrid conference model means flexible attendance options – pick and choose between in-person located learning and digital experiences.

CAUL’s intention in offering a hybrid conference model is to ensure flexibility and access for its member libraries. But it also provides the different but complementary dimensions of national lens and a local, state-based gatherings.

Your voice in this space

One of the great things about the Conferences is sharing thoughts, learnings and new projects outside of our own work bubbles. We will soon be taking submissions for presentation ideas – so start thinking about what you could share with your academic library community!

Attribution: Calendar image on blog is a detail taken from Estée Janssens photo on Unsplash

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!

Call for participation: PhD research project on open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities

This post is written by Samara Rowling, PhD Candidate, Editing & Publishing, University of Southern Queensland. Email: samara.rowling2@usq.edu.au

Why research open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities?

While as many of you will be aware, there’s already a growing body of research on open educational practice (OEP) and open educational resource (OER) use in Australian higher education, little research has been conducted on open textbook publishing activities and experiences at Australian universities. Most existing research on open textbook publishing focuses on the international context (e.g. North America), where differences in funding and legislative support affect not only how, but the extent to which this work is undertaken. While we know from anecdotal evidence that many Australian universities are engaged in this work, currently, there is no comprehensive and cohesive data available about the state of open textbook publishing in Australia and how this compares to more established models overseas.

How am I addressing this gap in knowledge?

My Doctor of Philosophy project (HREC approval number H21REA125) will be the first national study of open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities. It aims to investigate current and emerging trends in open textbook publishing within the broader context of university and library-led publishing.

I’m collecting data for this research by surveying staff involved in open textbook publishing at Australian universities about their publishing activities and experiences. Once I’ve analysed these results, I’ll be conducting a series of follow-up interviews with a small group of participants to discuss their responses.

I’ll be sharing the data from this research in open access journals and in my PhD thesis, which I plan to make available under a Creative Commons license through my institutional repository with no embargo period, as well as as an open access book.

In my thesis, I’ll be using this data to make evidence-based recommendations about how we can build more sustainable open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities.

This 60-second animation, created for the 2021 University of Southern Queensland Visualise Your Thesis competition, gives a quick summary of the project:

What can you do to help?

If you’re involved in publishing open textbooks at an Australian university, I’m requesting your assistance with this research. Understanding how we can build more sustainable publishing programs, and consequently, increase production of high-quality Australian open textbooks will improve the student experience by helping to:

• reduce the financial burden of study

• remove geographic and copyright barriers preventing students from accessing essential course materials

• provide more accessible, diverse, and inclusive content than is typically offered by traditional publishers.

You can help with this important research by completing my 15-20 minute online survey at https://surveys.usq.edu.au/index.php/584337 by 28 February 2022.

During this survey, you’ll be asked to share details about your university’s open textbook publishing activities – on topics like funding, staffing, professional development infrastructure, and outputs – as well as your own thoughts about the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of engaging in this work.

If you’re just getting started, were previously publishing but have now stopped, or have decided publishing open textbooks isn’t for you, the survey contains alternate pathways designed to capture these experiences as well. After completing the survey, you can also nominate yourself for a follow-up interview if you would like to discuss your experiences in more detail.

For more information about this research, you can contact me at Samara.Rowling2@usq.edu.au. In the spirit of open access, I’ll be tweeting about this project as I go along, including sharing data and links to any publications, so please follow me at @SamaraRowling for updates.

What does it mean to enable a modern curriculum?

University libraries play a number of key roles in enabling contemporary teaching and learning, including:

  • curating, collecting and creating information resources related to the curriculum
  • consulting and advising through curriculum design processes
  • partnering with educational designers and academic developers to provide holistic support for course development
  • embedding information literacy instruction in the curriculum
  • championing digital literacy
  • supporting academics to find, use, adapt or create open educational resources.

In many institutions, academic skills development is also part of the library’s remit. Even the work libraries undertake that isn’t directly related to teaching and learning impacts it indirectly. For example, supporting open scholarship results in more open access research outputs, which are in turn used in teaching and learning.

Libraries contribute to contemporary teaching and learning in a myriad ways and so our focus on this blog will also be broad. We are keen to explore the various ways that libraries enable a modern curriculum, and to amplify the work CAUL Member institutions do in the teaching and learning space.

So, we have two questions for you!

  1. What topics related to libraries’ role in teaching and learning would you like to see featured here on the blog? Share your thoughts about the topics you’d like to see us explore in the comments! If you’re reading this post as an email, click the post title to head to the blog and add your comment.
  2. Do you have an idea for a blog post you’d like to write? Perhaps there is something great happening at your institution that you’d like to share, an event that you’d like to write an analysis of, an important message you need to get out, or a resource you’d like to highlight. Perhaps you’d like to share about what enabling a modern curriculum means to you. If you would like to write something from the blog, then we would like to hear from you! You can contact me – Kate Davis (CAUL Director, Strategy & Analytics) – with your ideas for posts.

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.