Do you have a design process for OER creation?

Last year, Jennifer Jensen and I presented at Stony Brook Open Access Symposium. We recognize that SUNY Oneonta has done a lot of successful OER Creation, and though the largest driver of OER Adoption on our campus is high enrollment, general education courses that have existing OER. However, the deep collaboration that OER creation requires is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.

So Mona Ramonetti, Scholarly Communication Librarian at Stony Brook asked us if we had a specific design process for OER Creation. Here was my response:

When we presented at the Stony Brook Open Access Symposium, I made this insane slide:

What this really represents is how we have adjusted the SAM model of creation for OER. In SAM you have three phases Preparation, Design, and Iterative Development. 

In each phase, you are trying to prototype the smallest piece you can, evaluate it, and use what you have learned to make the next piece better. That’s why when we talk about it we often talk about creating a chapter first, creating an outline first.

The major way we deviate from SAM, and have adapted it for OER, is we ask the creators to think about how they could share at all stages. With SAM, the assumption is that you are working towards a broad reveal or rollout at the end of your creation process. With OER, it can often be very helpful to get feedback from the open community throughout the entire process. It could be as simple as- hey I made a table of contents of my planned project- does it look like I am missing any major topics? Or, here’s my prototype of a chapter, what kind of teaching resources would you want if you were teaching your class with this? With open development, you may be able to find collaborators and reviewers by sharing early and often.

The reason I am drawn to SAM is the fact that it simple and repetitive (1. Design, 2. Prototype, 3. Evaluate). 

We do basically the same circle of design, prototype and evaluate in each step of the project. 

  • At the organizational meeting, you might start with the instructor’s vision. When you get an idea of what they are looking for, you might come back to them with some OER examples- is this what you want your book to look like? This is what Pressbooks looks like, This is what Carnegie Mellon Echo looks like, this is what Lumen Learning Online Homework Manager looks, this is what it might be in Blackboard. While we are subbing in examples, and not necessary prototypes, we can get the faculty thinking about what is possible in the various tools we have available. 
  • Maybe at the next stage of the project, you ask them to start to think about and define how many chapters or modules they want and what the topic of each should be. Should that be reviewed? Maybe informally by a colleague in the department or maybe more formally. Should you share on one of our Open Education Listserv? Should you make a project homepage at the Rebus Foundation? We use any feedback to continue to modify our model and move our project forward. 
  • Once you have kind of defined the overall breadth of the project, now the faculty might go away for a while to start writing or maybe you are searching for previously created open content to slot into the framework. As soon as you can, get 1 chapter mocked up in the final system you choose, and make sure the faculty are still enthusiastic about their original plan. Better to make changes to plan when they have 1 chapter in progress than when they have 16 chapters they consider done. 
  • Once you have a chapter to your standards, maybe you go back to that colleague again or maybe you get a student to test out the interactives, or a future TA to look for places they had questions when they took the class. 

I like that repetitive structure of 1. Plan, 2. Build, 3. Assess and always letting your plan change based on the assessment. As a project manager helping faculty move forward, you start to build these bite-sized chunks and opportunities to interact. The faculty feel like they are making progress and being supported because you have created all of these opportunities for touchpoints at various stages of the building process.

At the end of the day, you want to feel good about the projects you collaborate on, you want your faculty to feel supported, and you want a good experience for your future students. I feel like the SAM process helps make that happen.

1 thought on “Do you have a design process for OER creation?”

  1. The iteration also gives us multiple places and times to introduce and review and make decisions on the “openness” of the OER content. At the visioning stage, we start with a discussion about Creative Commons and OER based on the authors’ current knowledge, and then we build on that over time. During different iterations we’ll come back to … where are you getting these images? how are you keeping track of CC-licensed media you want to include and attribute? is this attribution display working for you or should we try a different model? how are you going to license and share your own original work? what kind of background information about openly licensed works do you want to share with your readers (in an “about this book” preface, for example)? … It’s all part of an ongoing conversation instead of a one-shot interaction. This is especially effective with student authors, too.

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