We’re On Our Way: Targeted Open Pathways for HDFS and SOC

By | March 10, 2022

Heather Blicher, Equity Consultant; Emily Ford, Urban & Public Affairs Librarian, Portland State University; Terese Jones, Faculty, and Liz Pearce, Department Chair, Education/Human Development and Family Sciences, Linn-Benton Community College; and Kim Puttman, Adult Basic Skills and Sociology Faculty, Oregon Coast Community College contributed to this post.

Open Oregon Educational Resources received Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding to develop openly-licensed, targeted pathway materials with an equity lens for Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and Sociology. This project will redesign high-enrollment courses in disciplines that lead to in-demand occupations where high quality openly licensed course materials with an equity lens are not currently available. We are working on the following courses (course titles and numbers vary between institutions):

  • Contemporary Families in the U.S. (HDFS 201)
  • Infant and Child Development (HDFS 225)
  • School-Age & Adolescent Development (HDFS 229)
  • Introduction to Human Services (HDFS 262)
  • Human Services Practicum (HDFS 272)
  • Sociology in Everyday Life (SOC 204)
  • Social Change in Societies (SOC 205)
  • Social Problems (SOC 206)
  • Sociology of Gender (SOC 218)

Author teams are deeply engaging in this innovative community of practice. In particular, authors at small institutions (who may be the only faculty member in their discipline), are enjoying the connection to colleagues and resources. Kim Puttman, Sociology discipline lead, calls this “a lift for equity across the state.”

Contributing authors are still needed for Sociology of Gender (SOC 218) and Introductory Human Services Practicum (HDFS 272). Interested authors can email Amy Hofer for more information.

Detailed Outline Peer Review

Our project sought peer reviews of detailed textbook and course outlines to ensure that our course materials will be widely relevant in Oregon. This is new to Open Oregon Educational Resources, which has not used a formal peer-review process for grant-funded materials before. We are learning from our project partners at Chemeketa Press, who bring experience and expertise with reviews of all types.

Our goals in seeking peer review while still in the outline stage are:

  • Identify gaps or errors early in the process, when it is still easy to fix them
  • Encourage engagement and eventual adoption from a wide range of people
  • Incorporate diverse viewpoints and perspectives, particularly from people who may be excluded/underrepresented.

We consulted with Emily Ford, Urban & Public Affairs Librarian at Portland State University Library, for input on the pros and cons of an open peer-review process. Open peer review, where the identities of authors and reviewers are known and feedback is associated with the reviewer by name, builds community and enables authors to directly engage with reviewer feedback. On the other hand, masked peer review can mitigate implicit bias on the part of authors and reviewers, and enables our Instructional Editor to streamline feedback for authors into actionable recommendations.

We decided to pursue a hybrid approach. Peer reviewers submitted their feedback via a google form where they could choose to remain anonymous (sample form). Feedback in the form was synthesized by Stephanie Lenox, Instructional Editor with Chemeketa Press, and presented to author teams to decide how to incorporate suggestions. They received a $50 VISA card as compensation for submitting their form.

Peer reviewers could also, optionally, add comments to the review copy of the detailed course/textbook outline where their name would be associated with their comments, and other reviewers could contribute to the discussion by replying or adding their own comments. In this way, reviewers had the option to engage in their own discussions regarding the work, and allowing for authors to explore this conversation. Every outline received unmasked comments from reviewers, showing that this approach worked well for reviewers. Feedback left via comment is read and addressed by the authors on their own.

In either format, peer reviewers were reminded to follow the Open Oregon Educational Resources Community Guidelines when writing their reviews.

Human Development Approach

Human Development is covered in a variety of ways at Oregon institutions, whether as a one-quarter standalone course, or in a sequence with different life stages grouped together depending on departmental decision-making. The materials we are developing will be able to be adapted for all of these uses. Project author Terese Jones writes:

The HDFS 225/229 project has evolved since its inception. Originally designed to be two separate texts for Infant and Child Development, and School-Age and Adolescent Development, it quickly became clear that to do service to the goal of addressing gaps in content and a focus on equity, it would be best to approach the book as a single text. This allows a much stronger continuity in content and will help ensure a powerful equity lens across the life span.

One of the more unique features of authorship in this text is a deep collaborative process that extends from chapter design all the way through to final chapter content. We are designing each developmental domain comprehensively, from pre-natal to emerging adulthood, which requires contribution from all lead authors. Our chapters are collaboratively written as well. With a robust outline, we can assign content and share the work of developing each chapter, so that no chapter is designed in a silo.

An exciting part of this project is our ability to address gaps in content. We may be the first book to take a life span approach to understanding sexual development. Sexual development will be a thread through all ages and stages of development, where the typical approach is to nest sexual development within physical development, or discussions of puberty. However, we begin the discussion of ourselves as sexual beings from birth. To see our children grow into adults with a healthy understanding of themselves as sexual beings, and have a healthy recognition of others as sexual beings, we need an instructional approach to the topic that embraces this perspective. It is foundational to equity, to reproductive justice, to advancing and securing the safety and rights of the BIPOC community. Our book handles sexual development with a lens that calls out how sexual development is not equitable, leaving some identity groups more vulnerable to exploitaiton, violence and lacking autonomy regarding their own bodies.

NCORE Presentation

The project team had a proposal accepted and will present at the upcoming National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in Higher Education in Portland, May 31-June 4. The session, titled Open Education for Equity, will share our innovative project model that supports use of open education practices with an explicit equity lens. Faculty often assume that their course is more equitable when they adopt affordable materials, and it is true that affordable materials remove a significant barrier to success. However, an open license does not ensure that the course materials or course design are inclusive of the diverse students in our classrooms. The projects discussed in this proposal support open educational practices with an equity lens, including universal design, cultural relevance, and diverse perspectives.

  • Yvonne Smith, Instructor, Gerontology and Human Services at Clackamas Community College, is lead author on a Human Services Internship course that addresses the intersection of the student experience, the client experience, and the agency. She will discuss the diverse experiences students bring with them and how that may impact their experience, help them develop an appreciation for the diverse experiences of their clients, and help them identify institutional barriers and biases that may exist in their agency.
  • Monica Laura Olvera, PhD, Senior Instructor I, Program of Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University, is contributing to a Contemporary Families in the US course. She will discuss creating welcoming places and policies for DACA students, undocumented students, and students with mixed-immigration status families.
  • Esmeralda Janeth, Graduate Student at Oregon State University, is coauthoring an Infant and Child Development course. She will discuss how to move away from using Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as buzzwords to intentionally incorporating DEI in teaching.
  • Heather Blicher, MLIS, is a community college librarian participating in the project as our equity consultant. She will discuss her collaboration with project leadership and author teams to support the centering of equity through reflective activities and discussions, engaging participants to share their lived experiences.
  • Veronica Vold, PhD, Open Education Instructional Designer, Open Oregon Educational Resources, supports teams in designing open courses that integrate with pathway textbooks. She will discuss course design tools that support open, accessible, and inclusive learning pathways.

One thought on “We’re On Our Way: Targeted Open Pathways for HDFS and SOC

  1. Pingback: Oregon Celebrates Open Education Week, March 7-11, 2022 – openoregon.org

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