OEN Workshops: Evolving with Open Education

Published on December 20th, 2023

Estimated reading time for this article: 3 minutes.

Open education workshops are a long-established service offered by the Open Education Network (OEN) to our community members. More than a decade ago, OEN Executive Director David Ernst envisioned these events as opportunities to raise awareness, educate, and engage audiences in the principles and practices of open education. The approach has been well received, and hundreds of workshops later, member feedback continues to influence workshop topics, content, and discussion.

New to the Lineup

Introduction to Open Pedagogy Workshop is one of the most recent offerings in the OEN lineup. This 1-hour virtual event is designed for faculty who would like to be more informed about inclusive, student-centered learning and may be considering implementing open pedagogy in their classrooms. 

Tanya Grosz, OEN Director of Educational Programs, presents this workshop and others. “Our workshops are tested and time proven,” she said. “We consult with our members, asking them, ‘How did it go?’ We assess what we’ve done and refine it. Our newer workshops are born out of our members saying, ‘We need more help with this.’ So, we’re strategically spending time, research, and investigation on those areas.”

Big Questions, Thoughtful Responses

Grosz anticipates OEN workshops will continue to address core issues of accessibility and affordability around open educational resources (OER). However, she sees our workshops evolving as open education continues to grow. 

“Discussions around open education have evolved from discussions about resources to discussions about pedagogy,” Grosz observes. “So, people are wanting to know more. They’re asking things like, ‘What is open pedagogy and how do I get involved?’ ‘How does open pedagogy center student experience?’ ‘How does it work alongside principles of social justice?’ These are big and heady questions.”

To answer these questions and many more, the OEN currently offers five workshops for members:
  • Introduction to OER Adoption Workshop, a 1-hour virtual event for faculty 
  • Introduction to Open Pedagogy Workshop, a 1-hour virtual event for faculty
  • Train-the-Trainer: Introduction to OER Adoption Workshop, a 3-hour virtual event for librarians/support staff
  • Train-the-Trainer: Introduction to Open Pedagogy Workshop, a 3-hour virtual event for librarians/support staff
  • In-Person Visit, a 6-hour (max.) on-site visit for customizable trainings and/or meetings for various groups

A Workshop Realization

Feedback from a 2021 Introduction to OER Adoption Workshop showed 93 percent of respondents found the experience “helpful” or “very helpful,” noting they particularly appreciated explanations of Creative Commons licensing and copyright material, overviews of how the OER system works, and an improved understanding of the OER landscape and its connection to equity in education.

That same year, an anonymous participant in the Train-the-Trainer: Introduction to OER Adoption Workshop gleaned a key takeaway: “The best thing was realizing that there are more people around campus with a vested interest in seeing the OER dream come to fruition.” 

An Abundance of Expertise

Ernst and Grosz are joined by Cheryl Casey of the University of Arizona, Meggie Mapes of the University of Kansas, and Merinda McClure of the University of Colorado on the core team of workshop presenters.

Grosz finds it gratifying that the OEN community has so many knowledgeable, accomplished “open education rock stars” like Casey, Mapes, and McClure who are willing to share such experience. “The wonderful thing about having so many awesome members,” says Grosz, “is that the expertise is there in abundance. When one of our members has a need that falls within our purview and aligns with OEN’s guiding principles, it’s our duty and joy to fulfill that need.”

Your Best Advocate

Looking back over her years as a workshop presenter, Grosz says the experience has provided several memorable moments and important lessons. In one instance, she embraced an opportunity to field challenging questions from a fierce critic. By the workshop's conclusion, the critic was no longer grappling with open education and, in time, became a prolific host of OEN workshops.

“Oftentimes, it’s the person asking the super tough, almost critical questions, who will end up being your best advocate because they’re so engaged,” said Grosz. “It was my job not to take offense, not to feel defensive, but instead, to lean in. That was great advice from Dave [Ernst] that’s applicable in lots of open education conversations.”

Meeting the Community’s Needs

In this period of workshop refresh and growth, Grosz is confident the OEN will remain committed to serving the needs and challenges facing the community. “The need to make learning more accessible, more inclusive, more culturally appropriate, and more honoring of all students’ experiences will never go away,” she concludes. “It will always be there, and our workshops are one of the strategic ways we’ll meet that need.”


If you’re an OEN member who would like to learn more about hosting workshops, visit the OEN Workshop webpage or email Barb Thees. You can also find workshop slides, videos, and hosting tips in the Community Hub under the Resources tab. Sign in and check the OER Adoption and/or Open Pedagogy drop-down menus.

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