Watch the video recording of this Office Hours session, or keep reading for a full transcript. For those interested in reading the conversation that took place among participants and the resources shared, the chat transcript is also available below.

Note: If your comments appear in the transcripts and you would like your name or other identifying information removed, please contact Karen.

Audio Transcript

Office Hours: Faculty Authoring Workshops 


  • Abbey Elder (Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian, Iowa State University),
  • Lauren Ray (Open Education and Psychology Librarian, University of Washington), 
  • Marco Seiferle-Valencia (Open Education Librarian & Manager, Gary Strong Curriculum Center, University of Idaho Library),
  • Eileen Kennedy (Library Digital Experience Developer, NUI Galway Library)
  • Karen Lauritsen (Publishing Director, Open Education Network)
  • Apurva Ashok (Project Lead, Rebus Community)

Apurva: Good morning everyone, afternoon, evening, wherever you’re located. Welcome to another Office Hours. My name is Apurva Ashok, I’m from the Rebus Community and I’m joined by my colleague, Monica Brown and our wonderful co-organizers at the Open Education Network, Karen Lauritsen and Barb Thees. 

For those of you who don’t know, Rebus Community is a charity based in Canada, that offers programs and resources to support open publishing efforts. I’ll turn it over to Karen to tell you a little bit more about OEN. Karen, over to you. 

Karen: Okay, thank you. We are so happy to be here with the Rebus Community and all of you, as many of you know, the Open Education Network is a community of professionals working together to make higher education more open. And today, is a big day in the OEN because Barb, our community manager, just sent out an invitation for our annual summit, coming up in the middle of June. She’s going to drop a link in the chat to our registration. 

It is open to everyone, and free of charge. There are a few special members only events. But everyone is welcome to join us, and it will be a week-long immersion into the work that your colleagues are doing across the board in open education. So, we hope that you can join us and tune in. As for today, thank you for coming, we are going to talk about authoring workshops. 

And we have four guests today who have experience designing and hosting workshops for authors. And if you’re new to Office Hours, we will do about five minutes per person, and then we will open things up to all of you to drive the conversation. Speaking of driving the conversation, we always welcome your suggestions on future topics and guests. We will also drop a link in the chat for that, please keep them coming. 

But all this to say we know that there is a lot of expertise and experience in this room with us today, so please feel free to share your own stories, your case studies, your frustrations, your victories as we talk over the next hour. So, without further ado, I will share with you our four guests, and then turn things over to them. So, today we’re joined by Abbey Elder, Open Access and Scholarly Communication Librarian at Iowa State University.

We are joined by Lauren Ray, Open Education Librarian at the University of Washington. We are joined by Marco Seiferle-Valencia who is Open Education Librarian and Manager at Gary Strong Curriculum Center at the University of Idaho Library. And we are joined by Eileen Kennedy who is Library Digital Experience Developer at NUI Galway Library. So, to get us started I will turn things over to Abbey. 

Abbey: All right, hopefully, Apurva will you nod, there you go, all right. Hello everyone, as Karen just noted my name is Abbey Elder, I’m the Open Access and Schol Comm Librarian for Iowa State University. And I hope this presentation is useful for you all. I absolutely love the line-up this month, and I’m excited to hear what everyone else has to share. So, the workshops I created for our faculty authors are specifically for OER mini grants recipients. 

So, they’re a little bit more tailored to that experience, they’re required attendance for at least one member of each team that’s awarded funds at our university. So, I’m going to go through a bit of the background and what those workshops are, how they work, and how they’ve changed over the years. The workshop was added to our program after our pilot year showed that some faculty authors who received grant funding didn’t really know what they were doing or who they could ask for help. 

So, I setup a one and a half hour workshop for all grant recipients the following year. This workshop takes a flip learning approach, where faculty are required to prepare a worksheet and review sections of my OER starter kit before the workshop is run. As an aside, these worksheets were adapted from the project plan templates for OER grant recipients at Penn State, originally created by Sarah Davis, Amanda Larson and Julie Lang. 

I’ll be sharing a link to those in the chat in a little bit. But back to the topic. Before the workshop, faculty authors turn in their worksheets, to a box folder I prepare for each of them individually, which also includes supporting materials, readings, and a place they can house their working documents, so I can keep an eye on their progress. Then, during the workshop, authors are introduced to support staff and we review the worksheet they filled out prior to the meeting, as well as answering any questions they might have. 

The structure of the pilot workshop was this, I introduce myself, the services available through me and the ISU library, and I introduce our guests and their areas of expertise. Then, we have a short presentation from our digital accessibility coordinator on campus, basically asking hey please reach out to me for help throughout your project’s development, so we don’t have to rush to make everyone’s work accessible in May. 

Finally, the rest of our time about one hour was an open discussion with time for questions, for individuals to work on reviewing and updating their worksheets. Since I review the worksheets submitted in box, I know which authors have specific weaknesses and whose timelines or assessment plans are too sparse, so I can get them paired up with an instructional designer or I can talk with them individually during this workshop. 

Now, last year, this workshop was virtual, which changed things a little bit. Instead of a big open discussion after some small introductions, I had three mini presentations from me, our instructional designer, and our accessibility coordinator lined up. And then I set up breakout rooms where I could send each participant to talk with us individually about their work. After seeing the open ed conference this part year, I would consider something more like Discord for this type of work in the future. 

So, individuals can hop between channels to talk about different needs within their own power, without having to be moved by me. But it went pretty well on Zoom, considering it was June 2020 at the time, and we had to do things on the fly. I will say in terms of evolution moving forward, something that I plan to include in our next in person workshop is labeled tables like you might see at a conference where they want to encourage networking around a specific topic. 

This would mimic that sort of Discord channel feeling that I wanted to across in our online workshops, and likely be a little less chaotic than our first pilot workshop, which was held in a small room that left very little space for people to actually move around and meet with each of the staff set up there. But all right, I will leave it at that for now and let others share their experiences. 

But I’m happy to answer questions about our process, our worksheet, what works and what doesn’t during the Q&A. So, if you have questions, write them down now to ask me later. 

Karen: Great, thank you, Abbey. And over to you, Eileen. 

Eileen: Okay, thanks so much. I was just taking notes on what Abbey was saying there, it’s really interesting. So, my name is Eileen Kennedy and I’m joining you from the library in NUI Galway in Galway City, Ireland. Although I am originally from the Boston area, so the accent is not Irish, obviously. So, in my role in the library, I manage the library’s maker space, the web presence and I’m also a member of the project team for the library led open educational resources project. 

So, the library has just launched an open publishing platform called NUI Galway open press. And we’re new to this area specifically, so I’m coming to you from a slightly different context. And in order to get things started and get initial early adopters inspired and motivated we launched an OER grant program, thanks to funding from the student project fund in NUI Galway. 

And the grant divides €20,000 between 10 really impressive projects to either create or remix open textbooks. Now, as part of the grant application individuals had to provide an outline of their project in terms of timeline, who it would benefit, and an estimate for the cost savings to students in terms of paid learning resources that the open textbooks could potentially replace. 

And all these criteria were taken into account when selecting the winners of the grants. So, this was a really good way to get people excited and active in creating OER and as part of raising awareness we did some workshops. So, that’s really where our workshops come into play at this point, anyway. So, we held a number of live online events aimed at different communities. 

So this included Galway’s open scholarship community and also specifically NUI Galway students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, researchers, PhD, just a whole variety. So, the events focused on a few different areas. They provide an introduction to OER for anyone who hadn’t heard of open before really. A quick demo of Pressbooks, which is the platform that we use for NUI Galway open press and a Q&A session. 

Members of the project team also presented at NUI Galway’s open scholarship week conference and gave a live demo as part of that, as well. So, all of those resources have been made available to view after the fact. I think we all know that doing live online things during pandemic time, things come up last minute and you can’t make it and it’s just really handy to be able to refer back to it. 

So, in addition to the things that I’ve mentioned, which were more based around the promotion, we’ve also created and promoted some online training resources. So, Pressbooks itself has great resources that we’ve included on a guide, and I’ll stick a link to that in the chat in a second. And we’ve also created a few videos and hosted them on YouTube, so folks can just look back and watch that at their leisure. 

As I said, our project is fairly new.  The grants were only awarded in the past couple of weeks. So, at least the training that I’ve run up to this point has just been focused on familiarizing individuals with the open press platform and encouraging them to jump in and get started. So, we’ve already identified copyright to be an area where training and resources will really be needed. 

And some of my colleagues in the library have already committed to delivering resources around that. And then in terms of the questions that have come up during the Q&A, they tend to be pretty specific. So, for example, there was a question at one point about if someone had a lot of videos and maybe H5P interactive materials integrated into their learning resources, how would that work if they then exported this to a PDF or wanted to get it printed for students to use. 

An additional thing that I should mention is that we had the grants to get things rolling, but obviously open press isn’t available only to those who are successful in receiving the grants. The grant is intended to maybe pay for graphic design or copyediting maybe promotion or creating print copies for students. But there’s no reason why anyone who’s just a regular student or lecturer who sees a need for an open resource can’t jump into open press and get going. 

So, all of the resources that we’ve created to support the people in the grant, those resources are there really for anyone to jump in and use. So, I will stick the link in the chat here. It not only has a listing of the training resources and a little introduction to OER. But it has a really impressive list of the projects that were funded and my colleague and I just finished this website this afternoon, so it’s very exciting to put it out here for you. 

And if you have any questions, I hope that I can answer them from my experience, but I’m sure that I’m going to be asking some questions, too. So, thank you so much for having me here today. 

Apurva: Thanks Eileen, and congratulations on the website, it looks fantastic. 

Eileen: Thank you. 

Apurva: Marco, over to you. 

Marco: Hi everyone, so I’m Marco Seiferle-Valencia and I’m the Open Education Librarian at the University of Idaho. So, in that role, I oversee something called the Think Open Fellows program. So, I will confess that when I saw this prompt I was like I’m not sure if I should be in this session, because we don’t quite do workshops. I tried doing an OER workshop in 2018, when I first started this role. And I think I had three people come. 

And it just was ultimately really not a good use of the time. But then, I thought about it a little bit more, and thought about how the Think Open Fellows is basically a workshop. It’s just much longer, so the way that the fellowships work is that six faculty and up to two graduate students are awarded $1,200 to transition a course to an open text from a traditional text. The main requirement is that it’s for an upcoming course at the U of I. 

This program was founded by now a librarian at the Idaho Commission for Libraries, Annie Gaines, I think about five years ago. And the focus was, I would say, very pragmatic, because we don’t actually require people to use five Rs material. So, you don’t have to have an open license, we also allow for varied low cost solutions. So, we’ve had faculty who were doing things like putting together curriculum where they video record lectures based off of several editions older text, so that it’s very inexpensive for students. 

So, basically in that role, I oversee the entire program, and so, each year we do a call for proposals and evaluate the ones that come in and then select projects. And it tends to end up being an extended workshop for faculty, because I often will have, I would say, out of any given group at least half are generating completely new content. So, we tend to see more upper division courses applying for Think Open Fellowships at the U of I. 

For other people who are maybe doing something where they can use an existing open textbook, like something from the Open Textbook Network, those folks would tend to have a more one on one relationship or maybe I’ll work with them for more a reference interview, if you’re a librarian. So, connecting someone with the resource, helping them onboard it, but there’s not necessarily that extended instructional design component. 

So, in a typical Think Open Fellowship, we follow some things that will be familiar from things other presenters have mentioned. So, I for instance also attempt to have my faculty fill out a workplan and a vision and a commitment to what they’re going to deliver. I say attempt, because I actually only have about half of them return those materials. And so, it’s interesting for me to hear how people at other universities are able to engage with their faculty. 

We have a very, I always use the terminology like free range chickens. If people here are out and autonomous and only minimally engaging with the bureaucracy at the university. And so, sometimes the ideas that I’ve had where I’m like, “Oh I’ll get them to fill out a form and come to the workshop in the middle of the semester, and then do a form at the end.” They just literally don’t do those things. 

So, instead it’s a one-to-one thing where we tend to end up going through these different components and doing a checklist, like do you need help with copyright? Do you need help identifying content? Do you need help figuring out a digital platform? And then, we often have intensive activity happening around those things. 

And that way I would say we’re taking a lot of workshop elements, but applying them into this fellowship internship mentorship model. So, thank you everyone for being here and it’s great to hear everyone else’s experiences. 

Karen: Thank you, Marco. And Lauren. 

Lauren: Hi everyone. I just wrote free range chickens down, that was my takeaway after you said. So, I’m Lauren Ray, I’m at the University of Washington Libraries as the Open Education Librarian. And I started offering workshops on OER creation using Pressbooks in 2018. Since that time, there’s been a lot of changes to my workshop model, which I’ll describe. 

So, originally, I started offering workshops for faculty who had received grants from the libraries to author open textbooks, and that quickly opened up to general workshops inviting any UW student faculty or staff, although really aimed at faculty, primarily. The goals of the workshops that I provided were raising awareness of Pressbooks as a new tool and platform that the libraries had as an OER tool. 

Showing faculty what was possible with OER, and with Pressbooks. It was a chance for me, as a new open ed librarian to learn about questions and concerns around authoring and OER that were coming up from faculty and to get to know that on my campus. And also, for me to help build use cases to help support requests for future funding through the libraries. So, from 2018 to 2020, I offered about 15 introduction to Pressbooks and OER workshops. 

And three advanced Pressbooks workshops, I would say there is an average of about eight people per workshop, and each workshop was an hour and a half. They started out in person and transitioned to online I think in August or late 2019, so pre-COVID. I marketed the workshops a lot through our subject liaison librarians who message faculty in their departments as well as through our campus events calendar and OER list serve. 

And I had an RSVP model, so that faculty could sign up ahead of time, I could set them up with a Pressbooks account and create a practice book for each workshop that we could work in together. That was a nice way for me to also find out what disciplines people were coming from and try to prepare for potential for questions that might come up. So, in the workshops I’ll say I utilized materials from Open Textbook Network, Open Education Network, as well as Amanda Larson, who I know is on this call. 

Steel Wagstaff at Pressbooks and Rhea Gold, who was at UC Berkeley at that time, so I really appreciate having that ability to utilize materials previously created. I try to focus a lot of the workshops on showing examples of how Pressbooks had been used to create various kinds of OER. So, not just textbooks, but things like student manuals, student created works, language learning resources. 

Gave an overview of Pressbooks, the Rebus Community, the fact that our Pressbooks platform was in pilot and what that meant for people who might be thinking about using the tool. As well as basic definitions around OER and open pedagogy. And then, we had a lot of hands on time working together in the practice book that I set up. So, creating a chapter, adding images and media, I tried to have a lot of quiet time for people to get into a book and practice creating. 

And then seeing what other people were creating in the book, others who were in the workshop at the same time. I think that worked really well to get people actively engaged. I also went over general things around copyright and Creative Commons licensing, as well as best practices for accessibility and how to get help after the workshop. And then, the advanced workshop was a deeper dive into Pressbooks and talking about H5P and Hypothesis for interactivity. 

So, a lot of the questions from the attendees are probably familiar to the others on this call who have done workshops. So, a lot of the questions are about how do I promote my book? What kind of services does the library offer around marketing my book? When is my book published? What does publishing actually mean? And a lot of questions about copyright and Creative Commons licensing and how to involve students in authorship. 

So, I think the examples that I showed around student authored works were really a big hook for a lot of faculty who attended and I ended up having a lot of follow up interaction with those instructors afterwards who were interested in replicating those kinds of projects for their classes. So, since the COVID pandemic, Pressbooks started offering basic and advanced workshops for people on the Pressbooks EDU network. 

So, I backed away from doing that myself, so it’s been a lonely year in a lot of ways. I miss doing the workshops myself, but it’s also been nice to have that offloaded. And I’ve been doing a lot more work with student authorship, working with our copyright librarian, and doing similar workshops but for classes and geared towards students. 

And those have moved into focusing on three components for students: introduction to Pressbooks, citation and image attribution, which comes up a lot as a big question point for students and authoring open works. As well student authorship rights and Creative Commons licenses applied to their book and chapter. So, started doing these as synchronous online sessions, and then moved into creating videos that could be imported into Canvas for asynchronous instruction. 

So, I think learning over time there’s a lot of people now on our Pressbooks platform creating a lot of projects that I don’t know about. So, I created a monster, I think, with the workshops. And now, there’s the reining it in, and figuring out who’s doing what. We’re not correlating cost savings for students to projects, so that’s a big focus for next year. I think the big focus over the last few years has been experimentation and getting people excited and active with Pressbooks and OER. 

And then, also focusing on how to better support faculty around sharing, discovery and marketing their work. So, I’ll stop there and I’ll share a link to UW Library’s Pressbooks catalog, which has some student and faculty authored works that came out of those workshops. Thanks. 

Karen: Thank you, Lauren and thanks to all four of you for giving us an overview to your workshop programs and talking about chickens and monsters. It’s great to hear about workshops at different stages, things that you’ve learned, common questions, sounds like copyright is a big one. And to echo at least Abbey and Eileen, please bring your questions. This is the time when we turn things over to all of you. 

So, feel free to drop your questions in the chat or unmute. To get us started, I’m just going to build off of that theme of many questions about copyright. And ask all four of our presenters about whether or not fair use is included in these conversations. We’ve been talking so much lately about the new code of best practices for fair use and so I’m curious if that is also something that comes up frequently in the workshops and or if you can imagine it coming up in the future. 

Abbey: I can speak to that real quickly. In the past, we haven’t had fair use come up in the workshops very often because we need to be very careful with my instances. Getting people too excited about all the things they can do, and keeping things as structured as possible in that first meeting helps people learn the basics without getting ahead of themselves. I think in the future, we could bring it up more as well, possibly in follow up workshops. 

Especially now that the code of best practices exists. But in the past, we have been wary about it, just because we have had some faculty that tried to put any image they find in their book and list use under fair use. So, making sure that we make things clear what does and does not count, how to go through that responsibly is a big thing that we’ll have to work out ourselves. 

Marco: The example I can think of is not precisely fair use but is along the lines of I often have faculty who want to preserve, I have multiple dogs working things out. One is very sad, she’s been removed from this conversation. So, please forgive her howling in the background. I have faculty who will often want to preserve one text, one chapter out of a traditional text. 

And so, they’ll say, “Well, can I keep using this? And maybe we could use it through course reserves or something like that?” So, that’s been where I’ve been seeing fair use questions, and we don’t actually have a copyright librarian at my institution. So, it’s actually challenging for me to know how to answer those. I took the Creative Commons licensing course to support the guidance there. 

And I tend to be a little bit more freewheeling from the perspective of well, let’s try it. But I do think that it’s very institutionally based. That’s also how my library approaches things in general, and I could see a previous library that I’ve been at having a much different take on it. 

Lauren: Yeah, and we, at UW, I did not cover fair use. Or if so briefly mentioned it in the past workshops, but I think now with the code of best practices out, we’ve already been having a lot of conversations internally about how to incorporate that into guidance that we’re giving instructors around authorship and creation using our publishing platforms. 

And so, I think one of the things in addition to doing the student facing instruction that I’m hoping to work on this summer is building out a guide for faculty who are considering using Pressbooks for work in the classroom and covering fair use considerations and incorporating the code of best practices there. I think it’s a really hard thing to cover in a workshop where you’re cramming in the platform, and you’re excited about authoring. 

And by the way, did you hear about OER? It’s hard for it not to get into the weeds too much, when you have people especially coming from different departments who have really different interests. So, I think we have to get creative around how to talk to people about that beyond one on one consultations. 

Eileen: Yeah, similarly to Lauren, it’s something we’ve identified that’s definitely going to need to be elaborated upon, especially as we move into more advanced training with our grant awardees. So, I’d say that it’s something that our academic skills team in part of their development of this copyright masterclass, they’re going to include that as part of it as well. Sorry, I just heard somebody downstairs making a smoothie. Totally pulled my attention away. 

Apurva: No worries, Eileen, we know it is dinner time or slightly past where you are. But yeah, to echo what both of you are saying, especially towards the end I found that copyright and fair use especially is one of those topics where the most fruitful results or discussions can happen once you get into the weeds. So, it can be more tricky to have a very general workshop around it, although it might be useful to lay the groundwork. 

I’m just looking at the chat and there are a few questions coming in from participants. Leigh is asking whether any of you have hosted a workshop at a conference? And if that has changed the vibe of a workshop? Lauren, I see you nodding. Eileen, I know open scholarship week was last week. Maybe you had one there?

Eileen: Yeah, so there was a workshop as part of open scholarship week. And what happened was we focused on Pressbooks and we focused on open press at NUI Galway. But ahead of actually running that workshop, we emailed all of the attendees with some information on Pressbooks and how to setup temporary accounts, so that when they got into it they could actually play around with it, even if they weren’t NUI Galway staff or student, so they could still access the platform. 

It’s hard to say if it changes the vibe, because that was quite recent, so it was an online workshop of course. So, you can’t really interact with everyone in person. There was a lot of excitement around it, which was really nice, like the chat was blowing up. And people were creating really interesting things. And I think they were all blown away by the idea that everything that they were making was able to be published that they didn’t have to get past any gatekeepers.

That it could all be live and accessible and used as a teaching resource right away. So, it was definitely designed to be more useful to people in our institution, just because we do have the platform available to them. But the overarching goal of it, I suppose, was to get people excited about open authoring and that definitely seemed to be the result of it, anyway. 

Lauren: Yeah, and we hosted something called the digital scholarship summer institute or have done that for many years at our libraries. And that was done by colleagues of mine in our scholarly communication department. And so, that’s a summer institute that goes on for a few days, where faculty and grad students register and then they can choose a track like podcasting or open book publishing. 

And so, with the open book publishing, we’ve talked about both Manifold and Pressbooks as publishing platforms that we had. And we did that online last summer and had a Slack channel. I think it was really interesting, which I think just comes up in terms of OER faculty workshops that we had, faculty and students who show up thinking that they want to do one thing, and then over the course of the day or the week they discover actually I want to use this for teaching. 

Or I don’t want to make this openly licensed and it can be really hard I think thinking about the amount of effort that you put into these workshops, that are meant to be very personalized and very hands on. And then, thinking about what the outcome is, when it’s not that grant model where you really have an MOU and someone with an agreement. So, there is a lot of value in that, because we ended up getting faculty who I think thought that they were going to just create a book that got excited about OER. 

And then, decided to create something for their course, but it is tricky, I think, when you’re putting that together with colleagues and you’ve got multiple platforms and only a short amount of time. And then, how to keep track with people, so we’re considering not doing that this summer, not having Pressbooks as part of that, and having a separate conference workshop model this coming summer. But that was my experience. 

Karen: Thank you both. Looking to the next question in the chat from Amanda, this is for you, Lauren. Since you mentioned you’re not tracking cost savings at the moment, have you considered moving away from that model into something else? Like X number of courses revised, that is more tangible? 

Lauren: Yeah, that’s a great question. Yeah, I think this also gets into the way that we have done our workshops, which is a come one, come all model. And I think that there are a lot of things that have showed up over the past couple of years doing these workshops that come to mind around what is the value of what we’re teaching with OER in addition to potential cost savings? 

How do you measure or report out around things like student engagement, increased diversity, highlighting underrepresented voices in our teaching and learning? Creating course modules that are interactive that maybe didn’t exist before that are openly licensed and not using proprietary software. So, I think all of those benefits that we talk about in OER and open pedagogy are worth thinking about. 

How to measure and report out on them, but also how to be careful to not just collect and assess the data because we can. What is the goal? So, I guess my answer is I have considered it and thought about it, but I don’t have a plan going forward. So, I’d love to hear if others have suggestions for that or have thought about that. And that’s also not to say that cost savings is not important. It is. 

It’s just I think been very challenging for us at our institution around tracking that data. Thanks for that question. 

Apurva: Thanks, Lauren, and if others have suggestions of things that have worked well at their institutions, please do drop it into the chat. And I think the discussion about thinking carefully about impact segues very nicely into Amanda’s next question for all of our guests. Do you have assessment strategies for your workshops or professional development trainings if you want to call them that to help measure impact? And have you found any takeaways of things that have been useful so far? Do you have things you can share?

Abbey: I can speak to this a little bit. We don’t have an official assessment strategy for our workshops. It’s more like did everyone turn in their worksheets before the workshop began? After the workshop, did someone come up to me and say, “I really should have done the worksheet before this began”? Those sorts of informal types of feedback that give me an idea of how prepared everyone is and what support they’re going to need. 

That’s very useful for me having an assessment piece tied into doing the workshop. Afterwards though, again, because this is tied into a grant program, at the end of our grant I like to, when we’re in person, have an end of semester check in where I invite all of the recipients to attend an informal coffee and doughnuts event to talk about what they learned and what they did and share their amazing projects with each other. 

In the first year we did that, we got some really great feedback from some people who had talked to me and asked for support and knew that there was support available, saying, “I was so glad these things existed.” And then, other people saying, “I had no idea these things existed. I wish I had asked.” And that’s the assessment that gave us the workshops in the first place. 

But again, informal I feel like is a great way to get some of that feedback. But we’re also lucky because we have a worksheet built in that gives us some of those other things. I posted it in the chat, but the worksheet we use has an entire section in the beginning with questions like do you understand what Creative Commons licenses are? 

Do you need support or help understanding what the different outputs and publishing platforms are available for your project? And having those questions upfront helps a lot of people think through things they might have thought were built in. Of course I’ll use Google sites before that. 

Apurva: Thanks, Abbey. Marco, I’m wondering is there anything formally built into the fellowship for your Think Open group?

Marco: I was thinking about that. When I started no, I tried implementing an exit survey and I would say we’ve had about 20% participation with that. So, like I said, I’ve been mystified at my faculty’s freewheeling-ness to take what they want and leave the rest of the internship opportunity. And so, I thought yeah, for sure, they’re going to fill out this assessment afterwards and they just don’t. 

We do use a cost savings measure here, because interestingly, the state board of education in Idaho is very involved with education in Idaho, including at the university level. And so, the money for Think Open Fellows actually comes from the state board. And so, the state board is very interested in those cost saving metrics. And so, that can actually be really tough because for some of our curriculums we’ve done things like we’re trying to create new content. 

Like videos from Native American community members who are part of the UI Idaho Vandal community. Talking about what it’s like to be in these multiple communities at the same time. How do you put a value estimate on that? We’re not actually replacing some traditional text, and at the same time, if I don’t put a value estimate on it, then that project is non-significant to the funder of it. 

So, I do a kind of freewheeling, loose with the accounting and just an estimate on it. And my understanding is that’s the way we’ve always done it. And I’ve been trying to figure out how to capture this anecdotal feedback that we get. So, for me, what’s really interesting about OER as Lauren Ray alluded to earlier is the DEI potential. So, how can we actually use the fact that we’re creating new curriculum to improve curriculum?

Because it’s so limited, the standard narrative is extremely problematic, etc. So, how can we use this as an intervention? And so, many of the Think Open projects that I’ve worked with, we’ve ended up with that as a support, where we’re actually really trying to make de-colonial or feminist or explicitly anti-racist curriculums. And we’re getting feedback from faculty like I’m seeing different students who normally don’t participate as much coming out and participating more. 

I’m hearing from my students of color how meaningful this is. I’m hearing from my white students how impactful this is. We take some of these curriculums into K through 12 settings. And so, I actually heard from parents like I’m having conversations at home with my child about our native identity that we’ve never had before, and it’s partly coming from these OERs that we’re able to put in these new curriculums. 

And so, I’m trying to figure out how do we capture that anecdotal information, and also at the same time, I’m disincentivized from capturing that, because some of you may know that the state of Idaho is actually very unhappy about anything that could be constructed as social justice or CRT, the banned words of the day. And so, thinking about this assessment question is very challenging, because it’s like assessment for who? 

And assessment for where? And we want to be able to tell the story accurately of what we’re doing and also there’s all these complicated political factors for some of us. 

Karen: Thanks, Marco. There is a lot of stuff to sort out there, like you said with the political challenges and appreciate you highlighting and uncovering all of what is packed into assessment. I will move now to Diedre’s question, unless anyone else would like to build on the conversation so far around assessment. I saw that Abbey dropped a link in the chat there about an upcoming summit session related to data collection and databases. 

In the meantime, to Diedre’s question, do you have structured ways for peer review of the material? So, looking more at the publishing process, or perhaps the potential for some of these network communities who get to know each other through the workshops? Is there a way to leverage that for peer review or other methods for peer review? Is that a part of your publishing program? 

Abbey: This is something I actually do have a structured process for, amazingly. After all of the informal methods of the last answer. So, as part of our introductory workshop, we ask people to indicate some things about the publishing, hosting and dissemination of their work. What sort of platform they intend to use, where else they want to have things archived, so I will pull things in the Open Textbook Library or OER Commons for them. 

And also, things like if they’re going to do peer review, if they’re going to handle it themselves, or if they would like our digital press to support them with that process. If they ask us to support it, then what we’ll do is generally identify five or more faculty or instructors in their discipline that teach in a similar topic, reach out to them personally with a description of the text and ask for their willingness to review the book. 

With a set of questions adapted from the Open Textbook Library checklist, which I think was originally from BCcampus, but don’t quote me on that. I see some nodding. So, we use that as a base for reviewers to turn in their comments. And it’s been very useful for us in the past, I will say it’s probably not the most efficient method, because what I do is I look up similar courses by course description in universities across the United States. 

And then, I try to find who teaches those courses, and then I have to find their contact information to reach out to them personally. And that might not be actually the best way to go about that, but it is helpful in the end for finding the right people who will understand the content. 

Karen: Thanks, go ahead, Marco, I saw you unmuting. 

Marco: I was just going to say Abbey, that’s awesome. I’m working with Abbey on an open textbook that we are publishing. And I’ve never been part of facilitating a peer review process. And so, I’ve just learned a lot and I think Abbey’s idea and process right there is so cool. We don’t have anything like that. 

But I could definitely see us trying to emulate that, because that’s obviously a big question that people have, is how is this peer reviewed and how is this part of the scholarly conversation in that way? So, thank you, Abbey, that’s awesome. 

Apurva: Thanks, Marco. Eileen, is there anything built in for the 10 projects you’re working with? And I know it’s from the student fund, so if not peer review is there student review that you are working to do? 

Eileen: Yeah, that’s a great question. And at the moment, no, there’s not anything built in. But it’s actually something that we’ve been discussing and I suppose actually it comes back to that question of impact and measuring the impact and the value. And it’s not just monetary, so these are all such interesting takeaways and different approaches. 

Peer review is something that we definitely thought about, especially in terms of when you’re thinking about academics looking to publish items that will progress their careers and their reputations. Peer review is such an important part of that. So, I’m really interested to hear Abbey’s approach to it, I think that’s something that we could definitely implement. 

Lauren: Yes, just echoing the others that I have a lot to learn from Abbey. We don’t have a structured way for peer review of our materials. And that hasn’t really come up as a question that faculty have brought to us when they’re approaching us around publishing. And also, our criteria for adding things to our public Pressbooks catalog is that it is openly licensed and that there’s a downloadable copy. 

And that the instructor is responsible for any copyright concerns, so it’s very much hands off, if you meet these things and you work with us in some way or let us know about this project, we’ll add it to our site. And so, there are plenty of things there that are not peer reviewed and that are iterative and that probably have errors and are meant to change or that are student authored works that are going to get built on over time. 

And so, I guess our approach or my approach has been getting a lot of people participating and on board, and not starting with a formal publishing program, partially because we don’t have that resource here. But also, just to grow a community around OER that’s maybe not solely focused around formal publishing processes, although those are very valuable to know about and to build on. So, that’s my answer. 

Karen: Thanks all. So, looking at the clock, we are closing out on our hour. So, if you have a question, please drop it in the chat. And while you think about that, I’ll go ahead and ask a question of my own. So, Abbey mentioned the word efficiency, and I think one of the things about book making that can be such a challenge, if you will allow the term book making is that it’s often a multiple year undertaking and it can be hard to show progress. 

And then, there’s this idea to Lauren’s comment earlier what is published? And all of this stuff in between this twinkle in an eye to a completed project. So, with that preamble, I’m curious about these workshops and if any of you find that they do help with efficiency particularly when you’re working perhaps within a grant program? Do you find that there is more awareness around process, for example?

Or you’ve had better luck with getting deliverables on a timeline that you may have? If any of you can speak to that in particular, I think deadlines within grant programs or other questions of I feel like faculty heard me on this particular step in this long process and we’re in it together now. 

Eileen: I suppose what I can say to that is that we have a plan to use the workshops as a way of keeping people on track. So, every few months there could be a workshop on whatever looks to be an issue that individuals have come up with in their writing of the textbook. In addition to that, we’ve created a Teams site, because we all use Office here, where there’s one community manager, who is a librarian. 

And everyone who’s authoring a book is in this group where they can bring up their issues and whatever comes up, if it seems to be a big issue that needs a lot of attention, then that can inspire a future workshop. And also, the community then keeps themselves to task and keeps themselves writing and progressing and they can work together to I suppose grow as a unit and enhance the culture of open publishing. 

Abbey: That is amazing, Eileen. That is amazing, Eileen. I’m going to stop saying that is amazing. Okay. So, from our own perspective, obviously my workshop is built very much around the idea of timelines and getting things structured. But what I found helps the most with keeping faculty on track from that workshop is changing the way they think about things, what we get across in the conversations one on one.

And what it means for something to be finished. So, for example, we have one faculty member who had a very ambitious timeline and I knew it was ambitious from the start. I saw all the things they were planning on doing. So, at our intro workshop I met with her and I sat down and I said, “Hey, this isn’t probably going to be completely finished at the end of the day, but I think we can get you everything you need to do to pilot this in spring, by that time. 

So you can finish your final report that’s required for the grant, and then I will continue to work with you even when you don’t have the money anymore to make sure that you can get those edits and updates you want for the images and the additional chapters and exercises you’re planning. Because I do not think that this is all going to come together at once, and if you try to do everything in order, the chapter and the exercise for one.

The chapter and the exercise for two, you’re not going to get all the way to chapter 10. So, instead, let’s get the text together first and we’ll prioritize that in your timeline. And if you have extra time at the end, the exercises will come then.” But talking to people about making sure priorities are there, so something can be finished at the end of the day, because I have to present on those reports back to the people giving us money. And having something to report is better both for the team and myself, so that we can build on that and grow forward. 

Marco: Just to expand on some of Abbey’s comments there or add my own impressions. I guess I would say that I feel like my faculty, a lot of them come in already started this iterative process. So, they don’t necessarily come in like I’ve never heard of OER and I just sort of walked in the door by accident. A lot of them actually have an idea but have struggled with the structure about how to implement it. 

So, I think one of my big tasks as a Think Open Fellow coordinator is meeting people where they’re at and figuring out how much support they need and then guiding them through to help keep them on track. And I think basically having that, I’ve heard from people that the structure helps them to finish it. And so, to echo Abbey’s comments, I’ve had some people who definitely their initial plan was way too ambitious. 

And I think then a big part of the work has been well, let’s scope it and scale it and get a case study, approve the concept, something to try out. And then, maybe come back for a second Think Open Fellowship. So, we actually have had people who have come back for multiple iterations because they start something and it’s way too big of a project, it’s a whole textbook, we’re creating a website for it, etc. 

And so, we’ll modularize it, so what can we do in this first one? And then, how can we come back? But I do think we hear from people that having the structure of the grant program or a workshop helps them to actually do things that were at an idea stage or halfway done. But they didn’t have that full impetus to finish. 

Lauren: Yeah, and I’ll just echo the others around the challenge without structure. I would say that here, we haven’t run our grant program since I started. And I think part of that was in the running into some of those issues around how to provide support for faculty who maybe have an idea and were having a hard time keeping on track with their project or things were morphing outside of the original stated goals of the project. 

And so, I think that’s something that we need to reconsider and look at how to build that structure for faculty authoring. I would say that the hooks though that I’ve found have been around the student authored projects and the open pedagogy class integrated open publishing where I’ve worked with instructors who were working on their own project and then they really like the idea of redesigning their assignments to incorporate open pedagogy. 

And then, I have worked over time like learning lessons from what’s working well and what’s not working well with those student authored projects in terms of guidance that I can provide and deadlines and things that need to happen. And we’re on the quarter system, which is very short. So, I would say that that’s where I’ve had more traction in terms of hooking faculty and building those relationships that hopefully can turn into more in the future. And also, help us build a deeper service model around open student work. 

Apurva: Thank you, Lauren, and thank you everybody. In our final few minutes, I might actually ask everyone on the call today to fill out a form that Barb had shared earlier, but I’m going to drop into the chat now. What I heard in a lot of our conversation today were different challenges that you all are facing, whether it’s with workshops, encouraging faculty to complete those worksheets prior to a workshop, keeping them engaged and motivated throughout. 

If there’s anything that you would like us to discuss and maybe spend another hour digging into during Office Hours, we would love to hear that. So, I’ll give everyone a couple of minutes right now to fill out that form, and then we’ll spend a few minutes just saying thank you to all four speakers. 

Karen: And we get to meet a puppy. That’s a huge bonus for filling out a form. Just to perhaps inspire you, we’ve talked today about how hard it is sometimes to get input, and so this is our cry for input. As you’re filling out the form, we’re trying to get the timing right. We don’t want to say goodbye because we would like you to fill out the form while we’re all here together. 

But we also don’t want you to leave without saying thank you to our wonderful guests today. So, please join us in thanking Abbey, Lauren, Marco, and Eileen for sharing their experiences. But also, please fill out that form. And we’re taking June off, partly because of the OEN summit, so we look forward to hopefully seeing you all back here again in July. 

Apurva: And I will echo Karen’s thanks. Eileen, Abbey, Marco, Lauren, thank you all so much. It’s been really wonderful to hear from all of you at the different stages of your various OER initiatives at your institutions. And to also hear about the challenges that you face given the political climate, or the requirements of various grants or fellowships and the constraints of that that you might be working in. 

It’s always wonderful to hear from the community, so I’m looking forward to digging into the responses from all of you and from everyone else to the form. As Karen said, we will be taking a month off, but we will be coming back re-energized to tackle whatever it is that you want us to discuss as a community. And I will ask everybody once again, maybe to use some of those Zoom reactions to give a round of applause to all four of our speakers today. It’s been wonderful hearing from all of you. Karen, any final words?

Karen: You said them. 

Apurva: Okay, well thank you so much, everybody. Take care and we’ll see you in July. 

Karen: Farewell. 


Chat Transcript

00:13:37 Barb Thees, she/her:
00:13:44 Barb Thees, she/her:
00:14:10 Barb Thees, she/her: OEN Summit Info & Registration:
00:14:23 Barb Thees, she/her: We would love for you to join us! 🙂
00:15:11 Barb Thees, she/her: The OEN Summit will take place from June 14-18
00:15:31 Barb Thees, she/her: Form to submit topics for Future Office Hours:
00:24:19 Abbey Elder: Resources from my presentation:
OER Starter Kit:
OER Project Worksheet:
Additional information:
00:24:33 Eileen Kennedy:
00:25:15 Kathy Essmiller: Ooh, I love that name.
00:33:18 Barb Thees, she/her: Links to Lauren’s presentations at the 2020 OEN Summit:
00:33:33 Barb Thees, she/her:
00:35:22 Lauren Ray (she/her): UW Libraries Pressbooks Catalog:
00:36:28 Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa: Has anyone hosted a workshop at a conferences? If so, do you find it changes the vibe?
00:36:57 Amanda Larson: For Lauren – since you’re not tracking cost savings at the moment, have you considered moving away from that model into something else? Like X many courses revised – that is more tangible?
00:42:05 Amanda Larson: For all – do you have assessment strategies for your workshops/professional development trainings to help measure impact? if so, do you have any takeaways of things you’ve found useful?
00:43:02 Deidre Tyler: Do you have structured way for peer review of the materials?
00:52:06 Abbey Elder: There is an OEN Summit session coming up on data collection and databases for tracking impact that may be of interest to some in attendance 😉
00:53:11 Kathy Essmiller: Complicated political challenges which make the work even more important, thank you for what you share.
00:56:09 Matt Ruen: Agreed! It’s really helpful to hear that process.
00:57:36 Abbey Elder: Student peer review is a huge part of many open pedagogy projects, but it’s definitely a scaffolding/structuring question and requires a lot of faculty coordination with staff support and getting the review process tied into the course
00:58:51 Lauren Ray (she/her): +1 Abbey
01:00:06 Abbey Elder: I will let others go first but I definitely have comments!
01:04:26 Abbey Elder: “Modularize” is a wonderful term, Marco!
01:05:03 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: yes, withholding half of the money was a motivator for faculty to finish at K-state
01:06:21 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: I also had them request to have mandatory courses to go over important areas, this would make them have contact with me and have pressure to build more each time
01:06:31 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: very similar to what you said
01:06:32 Karen Lauritsen: Your OH input and ideas are needed:
01:06:36 Apurva Ashok:
01:08:10 Amanda Larson: Thank you to the presenters! This was a great discussion!
01:08:11 Kathy Essmiller: Thank you, friends.
01:08:17 Deidre Tyler: Thank you
01:08:25 Marco Seiferle-Valencia (he/him/his): Ty everyone!!!! I learned so much
01:08:26 Andrea Scott (She/Her): Thanks, all.
01:08:34 Eileen Kennedy: Thank you for having me! Great to have an opportunity to share and learned so much!
01:08:35 Mary Jo Orzech: Thank you all!
01:08:52 Lauren Ray (she/her): Thanks so much for keeping this community going strong! Really helpful to hear everyone else’s experience and questions.
01:09:23 Jeannette Pierce: Thanks all. This was very helpful.