Spring 2019 OER Initiative Seminar

Accepting RSVPs through Friday, March 22.

Building on the success of the Center for Teaching and Learning’s current OER Initiative, part of a grant-funded CUNY-wide effort to support Open Educational Resources (OER) and Zero Textbook Cost courses, this April we will offer a  seminar to help faculty learn about, develop, and potentially decide to adopt OER and/or zero cost course materials. The seminar consists of two sessions, each of which will be offered twice: Session 1 will be offered on Monday, April 8 and Tuesday, April 9. Session 2 will be offered on Monday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 16. All sessions will run from 1pm-4pm. Please note, space is limited.

Faculty are welcome to participate in one or both sessions, but only faculty who participate in both sessions of the seminar will receive $300 in compensation. Those who complete the seminar will also be eligible for further compensation if they choose to take part in additional OER course development and submit the necessary paperwork by Friday, May 24, 2019.* (See below for further information.) Full and part time faculty, as well as Graduate Teaching Fellows, from all disciplines are welcome. Fill out our Google form HERE to apply  to participate.

Session 1: The What and Why of OER

In this session we will introduce attendees to and differentiate between OER and zero cost materials. We will discuss OER and zero cost materials as opportunities to revisit pedagogical approaches, raise student information literacy, introduce a wider variety of course materials, and embrace interdisciplinarity. We will also consider the pedagogical value of using truly “open” materials (OER), as distinct from zero cost materials.

Session topics include:

  • The role of textbooks in higher education
  • The pedagogical advantages of using OER
  • Copyright issues and open licensing
  • Where to find open textbooks and other open resources online
  • Choosing between OER and zero cost materials

Session 2: Teaching with OER

In session two faculty will have a chance to think about course design and how OER or zero cost materials might fit their teaching style and learning goals. We will also raise the issues of student access and usability questions when thinking about OER and zero cost materials. This session will include practical examples and hands-on activities and all participants are encouraged to bring the syllabus for a course that they might consider converting to Zero Textbook Cost.

Session topics include:
  • Backwards course design
  • Creating assignments based on existing OER and zero cost materials
  • Creating OER
  • Mobile/Digital friendly materials vs. traditional paper-based materials
  • Accessibility

Course Adoption Activities

If after attending both sessions of the Spring OER Seminar you would like to convert a course to Zero Textbook Cost, you will be expected to complete some additional tasks:

1. Schedule a one-on-one session with CTL staff.
In this meeting you will get personalized, hands-on help with OER strategies and digital tools. Prior to this meeting, you are encouraged to think about, gather, and/or begin to develop OER/zero cost materials, and to consider which platforms or tools you might want to use for any digital course materials. In this meeting we will work with you to ensure that proposed course materials align with CUNY’s definitions of OER and zero cost materials.


2. Attend the Spring 2019 OER Showcase. This event on May 8th at 12:30pm in the Vertical Campus room 14-266 event features faculty in the OER Initiative who implemented their OER and zero cost materials during the spring 2019 semester. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak to and ask questions of participating faculty members in a relaxed, collegial setting.


3. Participate in the CTL’s OER Assessment. During the first semester that you implement your OER and/or zero cost materials you will be take part in the CTL’s OER program assessment. This entails asking your students to fill out our end-of-semester online survey about their experience in a Zero Textbook Cost course and also attending a faculty focus group or exit interview (depending on your availability) to share your insights from your course conversion with us.

For committing to adapt a course to meet the “Zero Textbook Cost” designation in CUNYFirst faculty will receive an additional $700, for a total of $1,000. In order to be eligible for the full amount, you must have met with a CTL staff member and submitted a draft revised syllabus with reading list by May 24, 2019.

* We understand that the choice of course materials is sometimes the choice of individual faculty and at other times, there is a centralized reading list. Therefore, priority will be given to faculty who have the flexibility of choosing their own course materials. It is assumed that accepted faculty have confirmed this flexibility with their department.


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