Introducing Oregon’s Statewide Open Education Instructional Design Community of Practice

By | March 9, 2023

This post was contributed by Veronica Vold, Open Education Instructional Designer

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with instructional design colleagues from Oregon’s 24 public colleges and universities to form a statewide community of practice on open education. Once a month, we gather together over Zoom to share stories, swap design strategies, and discuss open educational practices. Colleagues come from diverse campus units, including teaching and learning support centers, DEI offices, online learning centers, libraries, information technology, and learning management system (LMS) administration. Our intention is to create a social space for people who rarely have the chance to meet otherwise, but who share the desire and professional goal of advancing design for open education in Oregon.

Origin Stories: How We Got Started

Our group began with a question: what do instructional design colleagues need in order to help “open” education in Oregon?

In our first meeting in December 2021, we created a Jamboard of what we hope to give and receive from our group [Jamboard]. We uncovered a strong desire to build connections and relationships among like-minded design colleagues in higher ed. In response to this goal, monthly meetings open with a short icebreaker to allow colleagues to learn about one another and to share something about themselves if they wish. These icebreakers allow us to test out interactive tech in new ways, for example, using Google Maps to share about a favorite place [Google Maps]. While managing devastating national events, we name small ways to meet our needs, for example, choosing a strategy from the Tiny Survival Guide [Online PDF] in response to news of the Uvalde school shooting.

In building a meaningful social presence, we create an online space that welcomes not only our pressing design challenges, but the emotional and relational challenges inherent to our teaching and learning roles. We can share projects-in-progress that are messy, incomplete, or that feel risky. We alert one another to upcoming job opportunities and conference calls relating to open education. In the words of one colleague, we aim to “confabulate and make things better for everyone.”

Breaking Down Silos to Amplify Student-Centered Design

Our community represents a constellation of campus units and services in higher education. Some colleagues carry the position title of “instructional designer,” but many work in service units supporting teaching and learning in related ways, for example, through technology help requests or DEI initiatives. Some of us work in discipline-specific units at larger institutions while others support all campus programming at smaller institutions. Our group is united around a motivation to know one another and to create an informal space for genuine inquiry about student-centered design in open ed where we can share ideas, valuable conversations, and connections.

Here are what some of our Instructional Design Community of Practice members are saying about participating in this group:

As the sole college employee dedicated to open education, I feel isolated all the time. -Colleen Sanders, Linn-Benton Community College

Our group is full of experts! I love the connections I can grow with others facing the same challenges as me. -Emma Gray, Portland Community College

I really appreciate that we have a place for us to come together and talk through common challenges and processes as instructional designers. This feels like a space that is helping to bridge siloed IDs across the state. Solving problems together and celebrating each others’ wins has been a real highlight. -Rayne Vieger, University of Oregon

Advancing design for open education looks different for every community college and university in Oregon. Some instructional design colleagues work closely with their campus OER point people, while others haven’t had a chance to connect just yet. Some are very familiar with open licenses, while others are new to writing licensing and attribution statements. Emma Gray shares that since joining this group, “I have felt more comfortable asking SMEs [Subject Matter Experts] if they are interested in using open resources. I also have started to feel more comfortable providing guidance for SMEs that want to learn more.”

Looking Ahead: Sharing, Collaborating, and Growing

In our time together, we’ve curated a number of openly licensed resources for instructional design. We created a Instructional Design Consultation Bingo Card [Google Doc] of common phrases instructional designers use in design consultations. We invited Heather Blicher, an instructional designer and specialist on openly-licensed images [Google Slides], to present on designing with equity-minded images. We’ve also workshopped faculty consultation scenarios, reported on emerging educational technology, shared rubrics and resources to improve course accessibility, and compared compensation models for course design initiatives. Last summer we started an Instructional Design for Open Education Group with OER Commons [Webpage] so that colleagues can more easily share openly licensed resources across campuses.

Members are also starting conversations and creating communities of practice on their own campuses. For example, Colleen started the Open Education CoP [Google Doc] with The Makerspace and Innovation Learning Lab (MILL) [Website] at Linn-Benton Community College with Makerspace and Lending Librarian Forrest Johnson [Send email]. Colleen says, “I’ve got a few faculty doing open pedagogy using our Makerspace thanks to some small local grants. I’m rethinking how I teach open pedagogy to students in a way that feels significant and learner-centered.” Please feel welcome to contact Colleen [Send email] for source files for the openly licensed curriculum and schedule [Online PDF].

Moving forward, members of our community of practice are discussing presentation proposals on increasing student interaction and accessibility for the Oregon Virtual Statewide OER Symposium on April 28th. We are also considering starting a quarterly newsletter or informal end-of-term report to allow colleagues to showcase their design work and submit ideas and running questions for future discussion. We’re imagining new ways we could partner more closely together, potentially forming smaller work groups to tackle shared projects.

If you work in course design, educational technology, information technology, teaching and learning support, or DEI in public higher education in Oregon, and you want to advance design for open education, please feel welcome to join us! Email Veronica Vold [Contact Webpage] to get connected.


2 thoughts on “Introducing Oregon’s Statewide Open Education Instructional Design Community of Practice

  1. Jeanine Lum

    Great post and group Veronica! Thanks for all you do.

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