Oregonians at Open Ed 23

By | November 22, 2023

Oregon community college and university representatives attended and presented at the 2023 Open Education Conference, an annual convening for sharing and learning about open educational resources, open pedagogy, and open education initiatives. This dynamic gathering celebrates the core values of open education that strive to realize education ecosystems that are accessible, affordable, equitable and inclusive to everyone, regardless of their background.

Conference Takeaways

Here are some of the takeaways that Oregon attendees are thinking about after the event.

My biggest takeaway is the realization that Oregon OER is actually on the leading edge of what is happening around the country/world. This has given me the confidence to say that, yes, the things we are doing and the choices we are making are on target — and the challenges we face are not unique. – Anonymous

I was so inspired by the keynote speakers and feel a renewed sense of purpose around Open Educational Resources. Most of the sessions I attended were centered around social justice and DEI, which helps to move the conversation away from cost savings (that’s still important, mind you) and toward more equitable and student-centered pedagogical purposes. I now have so much more to share with faculty! – Anonymous

This is some incredible radical advocacy work! I am very new to the open ed world, and loved being in community with forward-thinking shakers. – Anonymous

Sustaining and expanding OER and open pedagogy requires constant, persistent community building. Even in supportive institutions, there can be structural barriers to adoption and practice that necessitates creative strategizing among faculty, staff, and students to work around challenges posed by inconsistent funding, a hostile political landscape, and competition from commercial enterprises. Community building across disciplines and organizations can be leveraged to share resources and support, and bring in new or unheard voices. – Kevin Moore, Mt. Hood Community College

My main takeaway was gratitude for the direction OE is taking in America today and the new resources that are on the horizon for future learners.

As an adjunct ESOL instructor at a rural community college in Oregon, I was glad to actively engage in this conference, where educators, policymakers, and practitioners converged to delve into the principles and practices of open education. These gatherings focus on pivotal topics such as the creation and adaptation of freely accessible educational materials (OER), innovative teaching approaches like open pedagogy, and discussions surrounding open access initiatives. In these conferences, the intersection of technology, policy development, and the invaluable inclusion of student perspectives emerges as a vital discourse, fostering collaborative efforts to address the benefits and challenges inherent in open education. – Anonymous


Oregonians were represented on the program. Here are the presentation materials created by our colleagues:

Doing the Work: Centering DEI in OER through Instructional Design and Equity Consultation Veronica Vold, Open Oregon Educational Resources, and  Heather Blicher, Open Education Global

In this presentation, we share a DEI toolkit to engage participants in OER development strategies that center equity in the labor-intensive process of textbook creation and design. The toolkit moves participants toward inclusive OER that represents diverse lived experiences. Recognizing the challenges of convening a large project team, and the need to accommodate learner variability, we created an interactive, accessible toolkit that provides participants with flexible options for engagement and regular interaction with equity consultants and curriculum designers. Open Oregon Educational Resources received federal and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding to develop openly licensed, targeted pathway materials with an equity lens for Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), Sociology, and Criminal Justice. This project redesigns high-enrollment courses in disciplines that lead to in-demand occupations where openly licensed course materials with an equity lens.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Recommend tools to promote equity in textbook and course design
  • Develop realistic strategies to manage barriers to faculty participation in equity-minded OER creation
  • Explain the importance of engaging equity consultants as key leaders in OER development
  • Examine instructional design choices that center equity as a throughline in OER development

Developing a Discipline Specific Text Utilizing Cross-Discipline Efforts Alishia Huntoon and David DeRoche, Oregon Institute of Technology

Development of an open educational resource is a desirable endeavor; however, it can also seem overwhelming and challenging. What is needed to create an open educational resource? How can it be created effectively and efficiently? Writing a textbook requires more than typing in the content. There are logistics and perspectives to consider, such as the platform, imagery, universal design, diverse perspectives, and dissemination. There are many skilled experts to turn to throughout this process, such as other disciplines, instructional designers, and disability specialists, to make the development more fruitful. This talk explores the collaborative process of creating an open drawing textbook by individuals that teach in different disciplines – art and psychology – and in different roles – adjunct instructor and professor. Both successes and challenges of the experience will be discussed.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Identify criteria in developing an open resource
  • Identify their strengths in developing an open resource
  • Identify who might be potential collaborators to work in on OER development
  • Recognize they are not alone in developing a subject specific OER

WeBWorK as a Homework System for Immediate Feedback in Preparatory Chemistry Lee McPherson, Stephanie Bryan, and Mike Mackel, Portland Community College

WeBWorK is an accessible, open access homework system that provides immediate feedback to students. As of June 2020 there were more than 1300 institutions using WeBWorK. However, most of this use is in math departments. We have developed subroutines that will help chemistry instructors use WeBWorK. Our homework problems guide preparatory chemistry students in learning significant figures and give a framework for unit conversion and stoichiometry. Students are required to show the calculation process, not only an answer, and are able to revise their work using the feedback from WeBWorK. We will show attendees an alternative available and possible costs involved if their college does not already have a WeBWorK server. We will share where to find our subroutines and problem libraries to the audience. We are hoping to build a Chemistry community on WeBWorK that can share information and problems.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the WeBWorK open source homework platform
  • Appreciate how chemistry-specific subroutines expand WeBWorK’s usefulness in chemical education
  • Understand whether this would be a possibility for their work or department at the current time
  • Know how to proceed in very initial first steps if using WeBWorK in Chemistry is a possibility

From OER to Open Press & Open Impact: Taking Open Education Initiatives to the Next Level Allison Brown, SUNY Geneseo; Abbey Elder, Iowa State University; Stefanie Buck, Oregon State University; Anita Walz, Virginia Tech; and Hugh McGuire, Pressbooks

When educational institutions invest in open education, their initiatives begin in “start-up” mode grappling with awareness-building, tools, and finding early adopters willing to jump in and get things moving. As projects gain momentum, they evolve as they work to operationalize, scale, and demonstrate the impacts of open education in ways that align with institutional strategic priorities. Join this session for a thoughtful discussion with campus champions who have directed open education initiatives through stages of maturity including the “Open Press” model, a central hub for creating, managing, and sharing open learning materials and scholarship. How has the Open Press model helped them move open education to the next level? How do they define and demonstrate impact in step with broader institutional priorities? What guidance can they offer colleagues seeking to build sustainable, impactful open education projects?

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Discuss how the focus of open educational initiatives may shift as they gain momentum
  • Explain the Open Press model and what it offers the campus ecosystem
  • Assess in what scenarios the Open Press model makes sense to support scale and sustainability for open education and scholarship
  • Identify strategies for increasing sustainability of large-scale open education initiatives

Sharing Impact of Instructional Design Support on Open Educational Practices Amy Hofer and Veronica Vold, Open Oregon Educational Resources; Chandra Lewis and Ben Skillman, RMC Research Corporation

Open Oregon Educational Resources is developing openly licensed, subject-specific course materials with an equity lens. This large-scale project involves a range of partners, including contracted instructional designers, to support faculty and show the impact of our work. While we continue to collect and report on student savings data, we are also generating findings that relate to student outcomes. Instructional designers support instructors in developing courses that meet our goal for high quality textbook and course materials: relevant, aligned with course outcomes, accessible, and designed with an equity lens. Our research investigates the impact of supported course redesign on students’ sense of belonging and other affective outcomes. These are squiggly-line impacts that are harder to talk about in a sound-bite than student savings, but just as important! Join us to learn more about our implementation, research methods, and initial results.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Discuss data collection and analysis techniques for evaluating impacts of supported course redesign with OER
  • Recommend design strategies for improving students’ sense of belonging and other affective outcomes
  • Prepare persuasive talking points for the effectiveness of OER beyond student savings

OER Translation Project: Thrills and Spills Amy Hofer, Open Oregon Educational Resources; Norma Cardenas, Patricia Vazquez Gomez, and Linnea Spitzer, Portland State University

Open Oregon Educational Resources received funding to translate Dave Dillon’s award-winning, openly licensed textbook, Blueprint for Success in College and Career, into Spanish in order to provide an affordable resource to meet the needs of North American college students who are native Spanish speakers. The project team did a review and released the Oregon edition last spring based on feedback from faculty and students for cultural relevance. The Oregon edition was translated into Spanish. This project has now reached the pilot phase and the team has some best practices and research study results to share. Pilot instructors were partnered with instructional design support to develop equity-minded courses around the revised/translated textbook. Our research study was conducted through the Open Ed Group Fellowship Program. However, we could also benefit from good advice from YOU, our session participants, about how to better manage the pilot phase of a translation project next time.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Understand considerations for planning an OER translation project
  • Apply strategies for reviewing and revising existing textbooks with an equity lens
  • Understand possible challenges with a complex OER project involving multiple stakeholders
  • Review a critical autoethnography research study on experiences with the translation project
  • Explore ways to promote extensive adoption of OER textbook

Iterating Toward Equity: Collaborating to Design, Pilot, Revise, and Publish Inclusive OER in Oregon Monica Olvera, Oregon State University; Alishia Huntoon, Oregon Institute of Technology; Terese Jones, Liz Pearce, and Colleen Sanders, Linn-Benton Community College

An open license does not ensure a course or its materials are inclusive of all students or their diverse ways of knowing and experiencing the world. Developing open educational resources (OER) to generate equity requires intention, iteration, and a substantial support system. Oregon’s statewide OER program received funding through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief program and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education to support faculty authors from community colleges and universities developing high-quality, accessible OER with an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens for Human Development/Family Studies, Sociology, and Criminal Justice. On this panel, grant team members will share takeaways from these collaborative projects to design targeted pathway courses and course materials that advance educational equity through universal design, cultural relevance, student agency, presenting diverse perspectives, and transparency.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Identify the structure, roles, and support resources within a large scale collaborative grant project to extrapolate useful elements for your own OER projects
  • Discover how iterative authoring, piloting, and revising course materials can improve OER quality and inclusiveness
  • Consider how OER can advance equity and inclusive teaching practices
  • Analyze specific elements that can manifest equity in OER (universal design, cultural relevance, student agency, presenting diverse perspectives, and TILT)

Student Keynote Panel Elizabeth Braatz, Portland State University; Alan Colin-Arce, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México; Dana Jamaleddine, Trent University; Anna Liakopoulou, IFMSA; and Alexandra Taylor
Kwantlen Polytechnic University