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Panel to discuss experiences with Open Education Resources

Open Education Week celebrates open education, and this year will be celebrated from March 2 to March 6. According to openeducationweek.org, Open Education Week “encourages the celebration of open education which encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.” 

To celebrate the week, The Center for Teaching, Learning, Technology (CTLT), and Library Services are hosting an Open Education Resource (OER) panel on Thursday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Axe Library basement presentation space. The event is free and open to the public, with no registration required. At the event there will be an opportunity to win prizes and refreshments will be served. 

Learning outreach librarian and assistant professor Ruth Monnier has been a part of the team organizing the event to celebrate open education. 

“Open education is to increase access to educational materials,” Monnier said. “So, open education is celebrating and distributing open access materials for educational purposes. So, its celebrating to minimize that price point barrier, both financially and other ways.” 

OERs are educational materials that can be used cost-free by educators and students. 

“It’s more than just textbooks, sometimes it’s handouts, activities… a workshop, it can be instructor materials, PowerPoints, or lesson plans,” Monnier said. “Anything that can be used in an educational setting that can be used free and without a charge.” 

The hour-long panel will feature five members who will discuss their experiences with OER. Included as the panelists are: assistant professor of communication Barth Cox, OER author and professor of English John Franklin, lead instructor Blue Valley School District Meg Holloway, SGA academic affairs director Lexi Houser, and Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education (KCCTE) web coordinator Kelley Manley. 

The panelists were chosen based on their experiences with OER and how it has affected their lives. 

“We wanted to have the whole range of experiences… so we selected based on the resources that are in this portion of Kansas,” Monnier said. “We targeted different kinds of panelists. We have the whole lifespan of an OER- people who are creating, the process of managing OER, the process of finding and using OER, and then what that also looks like in the classroom.” 

John Franklin, as one of the panelists said he was excited to be involved with the event when he was invited. As an OER author of “ELA for MS: A guidebook for beginning teachers,” he is interested in speaking to others about it as well as hear about it from other perspectives. 

“First of all, my commitment to OER makes me want to talk to people about it,” Franklin said. “It also makes me want to listen to people about it, so I’m very interested to hear what our audience members would have to say about OER- what their expectations are and where they would like to see OER and in return I can tell them my observations.”  

Director of the CTLC and PSU professor Brenda Frieden is helping organize the panel and encourages students to attend to learn more about OER. The CTLT provides information about OER to faculty, so she would like to see more students at the event. 

“Particularly students (should attend) because some may not be too aware of OER and what it is,” Frieden said. “…I would encourage students to attend if they can. OER’s are a good way to help increase their potential for completing their degree… sometimes, it’s a financial reason, to help them have the ability to afford their college education.” 

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