Last month, we kicked off our GO Chat series for 2021 with a dive into all-things-open, as in Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Pedagogy, and Open Science.
We started with a brief discussion about several recent articles that caught our attention:
- Inside Higher Ed, Will College Be Free in 4 Years?, written through the lens of a 13-year-old middle schooler during the historic inauguration of President Biden, Vice President Harris, and FLOTUS Jill Biden. What might this mean for college affordability during the Biden administration? Despite the many political challenges, the authors deemed it a worthy aspirational goal for all institutions.
- Faculty Focus, This Semester, Don't Forget Participation Feedback! This was a timely reminder about what can be a frustrating experience, a "participation" grade in an online class. Faculty can start by reviewing and refreshing their often-prescriptive language, modeling effective participation, using formative assessments, and preparing students to be effective participants in the classroom and work situations.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education, Small Teaching Online column, 8 Strategies to Prevent Teacher Burnout. Author Flower Darby focused on flexibility and forgiveness as we approach the first year of pandemic teaching. She offered key takeaways for teachers: keep it simple, maintain balance, communicate strategically, and call timeout for yourself and your students.
Helping us understand this journey about all-things-open was UMBC alumni Dr. Karen Cangialosi, a Professor of Biology and Open Education Faculty Fellow at Keene State College (KSC) in Keene, New Hampshire.
Although she regularly incorporates open pedagogy in all her courses, Karen explains her journey started with an episode of the podcast, The Future Trends Forum by Bryan Alexander. During the episode featuring Gardner Cambell (2016), Karen recalled, "I'm a biology professor who used mostly traditional materials, but I did a complete 180 when it came to open education after listening to Gardner Campbell."
A proponent of Open Educational Resources (OER), Karen says OERs are an important gateway to open education in terms of people, practices, and content. Open pedagogy is about access, agency, and community. Karen describes a learning environment where her students can work with her to create content or learning outcomes, write an attendance policy, design self assessments, or determine how they will be graded.
While students can be unsure, or even resistant to this approach, Karen suggests that since most students will not know what this process can be about she still offers more traditional methods, content, or assessments. And what often ends up happening in those instances is that a few weeks after watching classmates create and share content, students will come to her and ask, "Can I change? I want to do what they're doing instead of this 25-page paper I said I'd write."
When it comes to students sharing content, Karen never requires them to create openly licensed work; however, she provides examples and opportunities that make it possible. For example, her BIO 318 students created a textbook -- A Student's Guide to Tropical Marine Biology that is utilized by other students across the open education community.
Karen acknowledges open education has been building slowly and she frequently guides colleagues to start with "your desire as a professor and what you want students to do and learn in your course." As higher education is changing dramatically now due to COVID-19, Karen sees faculty ideally positioned to shape those conversations and changes. Read more about Karen at her website: https://karencang.net/