OER in the Time of COVID-19

Icons related to online learning.
Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

As colleges prepare for an uncertain fall semester, faculty are learning new skills and discovering new technologies for online and hybrid teaching. Open Educational Resources, OER, are a tool that faculty should consider adopting for a variety of reasons. Below are some highlights: 

1) OER are free for students. As the economy struggles in the wake of the COVID pandemic, many students are facing additional financial burdens. Providing students with free textbooks is a positive step that faculty and colleges can take to make the fall semester more affordable.  

2) Many, if not most, OER are available online. In March of this year, many students were given a short time period to vacate their dorm and move home while others were already on spring break and were unable to return to collect their belongings. In both of these situations, many students found themselves separating from their textbooks. Providing a free, online version of a textbook means that students will have access regardless of where they physically are in the country.  

3) OER are openly licensed so that faculty can tailor them to their course. If a faculty member cannot find the perfect OER text, they can piece together chapters from other OER texts to meet the needs of their course. Additionally, faculty can make edits and improvements to OER texts and send them to their students without having to ask permission of the authors.  

Here on the Anschutz Medical Campus, we have a curated list of health sciences OER available on the library website. We encourage you to check it out and contact the library if you have questions or would like help in finding OER.  

This was written by Ellie, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Celebrate Open Education Week by Submitting Your Work(s) to Mountain Scholar

In honor of Open Education Week consider submitting your work(s) to Mountain Scholar. Mountain Scholar is the institutional repository of CU Anschutz and the Strauss Health Sciences Library. Learn more about Mountain Scholar on the Strauss Library’s website.

Submitting your work(s) to Mountain Scholar is easy. In five easy steps you can get your work submitted and made available in Mountain Scholar. A variety of resources can be submitted to Mountain Scholar. Here is a list of some items we accept:

  • Data sets
  • Journal articles (including published material, depending on copyright restrictions)
  • Books and book chapters
  • Pre-prints
  • Multimedia including photos, images, and videos
  • Grey literature
  • Teaching materials and Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Technical reports
  • Poster and/or slide presentations
  • Professional activity materials
  • Projects and portfolios
  • Performances
  • Special events materials
  • Conference materials
  • Departmental publications

If you still have questions, check out our Mountain Scholar FAQ or contact Danielle Ostendorf (Danielle.2.Ostendorf@cuanschutz.edu).

This was written by Danielle, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Open Education Week 2020

Every year, during the month of March, the Open Education Global organizes the international event Open Education Week. For one week we focus on the importance and need for Open Education (OE) and scholarship in order to improving education access, affordability, success and quality for all.

Start the week by attending Rajiv Jhangiani’s online workshop, “Beyond Free: Supporting Social Justice Through Open Educational Practices” on March 2nd at 2pm. The Strauss Library will be hosting a screening in Teach Lab 2 followed by a discussion (please register here) or you can attend the workshop virtually

Then, start finding OE resources for you to use and incorporate in the classroom: 

To find additional resources and learn more about OE resources visit the Strauss Library’s OER Guide.

If you have questions, please use the Strauss Library’s AskUs to chat or email with a librarian or reach out to Ben Harnke (ben.harnke@cuanschutz.edu) or Danielle Ostendorf (Danielle.2.Ostendorf@cuanschutz.edu). 

This was written by Danielle, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Public Domain Day 2020

When discussing OER, we often devote a lot of time to Creative Commons licenses which are excellent tools for bestowing creative works with the 5R’s (Reuse, Remix, Revise, Retain, & Redistribute). However, in addition to Creative Commons, there is an even older designation that grants the privileges of the 5R’s with absolutely zero limits.

It is the public domain!

Public domain transfers all of the copyrights that were originally granted to an author (reproduction of the work, public performances of the work, translation of the work, adaptation of the work, etc…) to the public, in other words, works in the public domain are no longer copyrighted. Therefore anything in the public domain is perfectly poised to be utilized as an OER.

Due to the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998, the United States public domain was frozen for a twenty year period. January 1st , 2019 was the first year that a large swath of creative works entered the public domain, specifically works from 1923 including Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” and Cecile B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. These works and anything else published before 1923 can be freely posted to the internet for public use and interpretation.

Which brings us to…Public Domain Day 2020!

On January 1st, 2020, works published in 1924 will finally enter the public domain, including:

File:The Box-Car Children-1924.jpg

The Box-Car Children Book 1

Desire Under the Elms

It Had to Be You*

The Land that Time Forgot

The Navigator

A Passage to India

Peter Pan

Poirot Investigates

Rhapsody in Blue*

Tarzan and the Ant Man

File:Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) Trailer - Johnny Weissmuller.jpg

So this New Year’s Day, in addition to watching the Rose Bowl and eating black-eyed peas, you can enjoy the newly increased wealth of creative works that now belong to you, the public. You could film an adaptation of The Box-Car Children and score it with Rhapsody in Blue and have Poirot make an appearance. You could publicly recite a passage from A Passage to India. You get to decide because you have the power, the power of the public domain.

Piano, Music Score, Music Sheet, Keyboard, Piano Keys
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

*Note – for musical works it is only the composition that is entering the public domain, not recordings.

Works Cited

Douglas, N. (2019). These 1924 Copyrighted Works Enter the Public Domain in 2020. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/these-1924-copyrighted-works-enter-the-public-domain-in-1839612665

Stanford University Libraries. (2019). Welcome to the Public Domain. Retrieved from https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/public-domain/welcome/

This was written by Ellie, you can contact AskUs with questions.

OER at Anschutz

OER stands for Open Educational Resources which are materials that aid in teaching (textbooks, lesson plans, slide decks, images, modules, activities, etc…) that are free (or very low cost) and allow users (both students and educators) to make changes without asking permission. 

Starting to search for OER can be a daunting task, particularly in the field of health sciences. It can be overwhelming determining where to start and what to look for. At the Strauss Health Sciences Library, we have created a resource guide that is curated specifically for health sciences related OER and we hope it will get you started.

Open Educational Resources (OER) at CU Anschutz

The resource guide opens with a home page that answers the question, “What is OER?” Next is a page called “Why OER?” that provides background information about the benefits of OER.

The meat of the guide is the “Finding OER” section that is broken down into the following sections:

  • General Health Sciences
  • Dentistry
  • Life Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Public Health
  • Images
  • Data Management
  • Search Engines and Databases
  • Open Software

Each discipline-specific page features OERs that can be used in that discipline. For example, the textbook Trauma in Dentistry is featured on the Dentistry page, while Health Case Studies can be found on both the Nursing page and on the Medicine page.

On the “Search Engines and Databases” page you can find a variety of tools to help you find OER. OER Comons is a great place to start because its collection holds tens of thousands of OER learning materials that can easily be searched. The Open Access Biomedical Image Search Engine is another useful tool and a great place to look for health sciences related images that are openly licensed.

We invite you to visit the Open Educational Resources at CU Anschutz resource guide. Poke through some of the resources and databases, and, most importantly, let us know when you find any health sciences OER that we should add to the guide!

This was written by Ellie, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Celebrate Open Access Week by Submitting Your Work(s) to Mountain Scholar

In honor of Open Access Week consider submitting your work(s) to Mountain Scholar. Mountain Scholar is the institutional repository of CU Anschutz and the Strauss Health Sciences Library. Learn more about Mountain Scholar on the Strauss Library’s website.

Submitting your work(s) to Mountain Scholar is easy. In five easy steps you can get your work submitted and made available in Mountain Scholar. A variety of resources can be submitted to Mountain Scholar. Here is a list of some items we accept:

  • Data sets
  • Journal articles (including published material, depending on copyright restrictions)
  • Books and book chapters
  • Pre-prints
  • Multimedia including photos, images, and videos
  • Grey literature
  • Teaching materials and Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Technical reports
  • Poster and/or slide presentations
  • Professional activity materials
  • Projects and portfolios
  • Performances
  • Special events materials
  • Conference materials
  • Departmental publications

If you still have questions check out our Mountain Scholar FAQ or contact Danielle Ostendorf (Danielle.2.Ostendorf@cuanschutz.edu).

Open Access Week 2019

Every year, during the month of October, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) organizes the international event Open Access Week. For one week we focus on the importance and need for Open Access scholarship and, as SPARC has said, it provides “an opportunity for open access advocates to engage their communities to teach them about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.”

So, how does the Strauss Health Sciences Library support Open Access?

The Strauss Library supports Open Access in several ways. To start, Open Access is part of the Strauss Library’s Collection Development Policy and we regularly make Open Access content available through our library catalog.  Here are some examples of Open Access journals currently available in our catalog:

In addition to providing access to Open Access, the Strauss Library supports the CU Anschutz campus publishing in Open Access journals. If campus affiliates publish in an Open Access journal, depending on their author rights, they can preserve their article in our institutional repository, Mountain Scholar, as well. Learn more about Mountain Scholar.

How is Open Access relevant to the medical and health sciences field?

Open Access is beneficial to all subjects and fields. Allowing your research to be freely available will generally increase citations, support further advances in the field, and increase representation in the field.
Here are examples of Open Access in the medical and health sciences fields:

  • Open Access Research | Gail Rees
    • 3-minute YouTube video about the impact of Dr. Rees’s open access works
  • Open Source Malaria project
    • According to SPARC, it “invites scientists from around the around to freely share their research on anti-malaria drugs through a transparent, online platform. The hope is to accelerate discovery of new drug candidates to be entered into pre-clinical development. All data and ideas are shared openly. There are no patents.”
  • Open Medicine Foundation
    • According to their mission, OMF supports “collaborative medical research to find effective treatments and diagnostic markers for chronic complex diseases with initial focus on ME/CFS.”

This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”. What does that mean?

Every year Open Access Week has a theme. Last year’s theme was “designing equitable foundations for open knowledge.” Nick Shockey, Director of Programs & Engagement at SPARC, explains this year’s theme “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”; “As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community.”

Equity can play many roles in Open Access publishing. For example, it can refer to the accessibility of a platform hosting an Open Access journal, or the diversity of the editors, peer-reviewers, and authors of an Open Access journal. Open Access also brings equity to a field when all researchers have the same access to research and data. In contrast, accessing a traditional subscription journal requires a subscription which costs the institution, library, or individual money, if they can afford the journal.

How can I learn more about Open Access?

There are several resources available to learn more about Open Access. Here are a few:

If you have questions that were not answered above, please use the Strauss Library’s AskUs to chat or email with a librarian or reach out to Danielle Ostendorf (Danielle.2.Ostendorf@cuanschutz.edu), Electronic Resources Librarian.

What is OER?

OER.

 A buzzy term that’s in the air of academia; wafting through conferences and popping up in job descriptions – but what is it?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources which are materials that aid in teaching (textbooks, lesson plans, slide decks, images, modules, activities, etc…) that are free (or very low cost) and allow users (both students and educators) to make changes without asking permission. The OER community uses the “5R’s” to determine if something is OER.

  • Reuse
  • Remix
  • Revise
  • Retain
  • Redistribute

If someone is able to freely access a resource and they are allowed to change aspects of that resource, combine it with another resource, keep that it forever, and redistribute it with changes, then that resource is an OER.


5R’s. By Kiersten Merke/Auraria Library. CCO Public Domain

WHY OER?

The benefits of using OER are many, including lowering costs to students, empowering educators to adapt materials to meet the needs of their classes, and creating a community of collaboration. As the costs of higher education continue to rise, assigning an affordable/free OER textbook is a direct way that faculty can lower the cost of attendance for students. In a 2017 study, 85% of students either delayed or skipped purchasing course materials and 91% of them cited cost as the reason for their decision. With OER, the course materials are freely available from the beginning of the course, thereby obliterating any need to waffle about whether or not the course materials are necessary. Additionally, the text can be far more vital to the course because the faculty can tailor it exactly to the needs of their course. No more skipping chapters or clarifying an outdated section. A win-win for everyone.

HOW IS OER POSSIBLE?

OER is made possible by Creative Commons licenses which grant the user many rights with very few caveats. They range in permissiveness from CC BY which only requires the user to give attribution to CC BY NC ND which prevents the user from making derivatives or from sharing anything commercially. These licenses are covered in a Copyright and Fair Use class that the Strauss Health Sciences library offers on a monthly basis. Come check it out!

OER is an exciting and emerging field that continues to break new ground. Check back every month for a new post about OER!

This was written by Ellie, you can contact AskUs with questions.