Librarians as Open Education Leaders: Responsibilities and Possibilities

By | December 8, 2017

This post was contributed by Quill West, Open Education Project Manager, Pierce College. It is cross-posted at LOEL Research Report. The full report can be found at Librarians as Open Education Leaders: Responsibilities and Possibilities

The Library as Open Education Leader project sought to address the question of how librarians can add value to the open course creation process. We assessed librarian and discipline faculty collaborations by asking mini-grant recipients to keep weekly journals of their experiences in crafting OER courses. We identified four themes common to the experiences of 24 discipline faculty members and librarians across Washington’s Community and Technical Colleges. The themes explored in our summary report include:

  • Time: The amount of time dedicated to course curation and design continues to be a significant issue in the work lives of discipline faculty and librarians. Our takeaways include a need to better describe time commitments, define effort clearly, and scope projects appropriately.
  • Adopt vs Adapt: There is some tension between the desire to customize open content and the constraints of busy schedules. Better definition of activities and responsibilities will help to structure the time and effort associated with OER adoption.
  • Librarian Expertise: Most discipline faculty members appreciated librarians for their expertise in searching for materials and interpreting open licenses. However, librarians contributed much more to these course design processes, and it is clear that librarians can better define the role that they want to play in course curation and design before projects begin.
  • Librarianship Evolving: OER is one area in which librarians can enjoy a shift in traditional roles. Librarians reported using or developing skills in project management, instructional design, outreach, and delivery of instruction. It is clear, from these results, that librarians and libraries need to clearly align institutional needs and goals to the work associated with OER, particularly when it comes to defining what work librarians will do to support open education.

Overall this project demonstrates that open education is an opportunity for libraries to grow our services, as long as it helps us to fulfill our institutional missions. It is important for librarians to be a part of the ongoing conversation about OER at our colleges. We are hopeful that this project will spark conversations about the roles of librarians in our open education movement.

Please see the full report, Librarians as Open Education Leaders: Responsibilities and Possibilities by Quill West, Amy Hofer, & Dale Coleman.


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