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Missouri A&OER Symposium

All the information attendees need for the March 2021 Missouri Affordable & Open Educational Resources Symposium.

Symposium Schedule

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

AM 1 Session: 10:30 am-11:30am

Welcome: 11:15 am: Planning Committee opening remarks and welcome

Keynote: Professor Jasmine Roberts, 11:30am-1pm 

Open Education at the Center and Margins of Social Justice


Open education is commonly known for the advocacy of OERs (open educational resources), consequently framing the discourse as a textbook issue.  However, there is an increasing need to consider the intersections between social justice, inclusion, equity, and open education. The keynote will address the urgency of centering social justice approaches in open educational practices, the challenges of this process and provide recommendations for the audience to apply to their context.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

AM 1 Session: 10:30 am-11:30am

OER: Can it be an education access equalizer?


Presenters:     Neelam Bharti, University of Missouri

        Ethan Pullman, Carnegie Mellon University


Moderator: Scott Curtis, University of Missouri-Kansas City


Abstract: Open Educational Resources (OER) do not just save thousands of dollars for students, educators, and librarians but have great potential as tools to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Because OER is openly licensed for use and revisions, they can be adapted to help bring diversity, equity, and inclusion into the learning environment for students and authors alike. This presentation aims to discuss the use of affordable resources by providing an insight into DEI and how OER can support DEI. We will define OER and share the literature review on how it aligns with current DEI needs. We will also suggest ways that libraries can help educators implement DEI-friendly OER resources by providing them with best practices for including OER friendly resources such as Creative Common (CC) licensed materials and other learning tools that span various subject and educational contexts to support their efforts. The authors provide best-practices for and specific suggestions for finding and contextualizing OER for DEI.


OER Design: Creating Functional and Attractive Open Textbooks


Presenter:     Judy Schmitt, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Moderator:     Jaleh Fazelian, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: Good textbook design encompasses more than just visual appeal; it also enhances the book’s function, improves learner accessibility, and increases the student’s understanding and retention. In this session, we will look at the different aspects of effective book design, and attendees will learn tips for creating open textbooks that are as functional as they are pretty.

PM 1 Session: 1pm-2pm

Developing an OER Textbook: The Fun, the Frustrations, and the Progress


Presenters:    Felicity Dykas, University of Missouri-Columbia

        Heather Moulaison-Sandy, University of Missouri-Columbia


Moderator:     Stephanie Hallam, Southeast Missouri State University


Abstract: Hoping to improve on available options with a high-quality, locally-created free resource, the presenters received UM-system funding and support to coordinate the creation of an open educational resource (OER) textbook. The OER would be for use in the graduate-level class Organization of Information at the MU iSchool, the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. The presentation begins by discussing the project’s initial goals and slow start, including practical limitations such as challenges of determining a platform and restricted performance of available options. The presenters will also describe the help they received through the MU office of Course Design & Technology, and additional support they might need. The OER textbook was partially rolled out during the spring 2020 semester. A complete Version 1.0 of the OER entirely replaced the commercially-produced textbook in fall 2020, with additional edits to follow. This presentation will demonstrate the OER as it currently stands, providing a concrete look at how the authors interpreted OER functionalities and what might be done differently going forward. Finally, the presenters will also assess the use of the OER so far, including student reactions and subsequent edits, and they will describe future plans for its future rollout as a stand-alone OER.

PM 2 Session: 2:30pm-3:30pm 

Taking Inclusive Design of OERs seriously – What you can do NOW


Presenter:     Jess Mitchell, Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Moderator:     Lindsay Schmitz, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: I’d like to begin a conversation with those who ‘design’ education: namely, anyone who creates an educational artifact. The first goal is to clarify that we all make design decisions in the act of creating learning artifacts. Those decisions are a point of divergence – either an opportunity for the artifact to meet the needs of the learner or a failure to meet their needs leading to their exclusion. I will demonstrate practical ways to 1) be aware of those design points and 2) design inclusively. It is through this work that we can have a fundamental impact on who has access to an education.


What’s in your accessibility toolkit?: A roundtable on equipping instructors with the skills needed to make their resources accessible


Presenters:     Emily Bongiovanni, Colorado School of Mines

        Alexander Odicino, Colorado School of Mines


Moderator:     Jaleh Fazelian, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: Meeting accessibility needs is a hurdle for faculty adopting, adapting, and creating open educational resources (OER). While many informational websites and workshops discuss the needs for making resources accessible, there are gaps in resources and training that support the development faculty skillsets so they can make their resources accessible. At the Colorado School of Mines (Mines), the Scholarly Communications Librarian and OER Fellow are partnering with the campus’ Disability Support Services and Teaching & Learning Center to develop an open short course which will focus exclusively on accessibility and universal design in OER. The goal of this course is to equip faculty with the skills needed to assess their materials and make them accessible for all learners. This roundtable discussion will provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on challenges and breakthroughs in supporting OER accessibility or addressing accessibility needs in their own materials. Participants will be encouraged to share resources, connect on common experiences, and collaborate to further understand accessibility needs in OER. Conversation from this session will help inform the accessibility short course’s curriculum. The short course will be disseminated widely and openly licensed, so participants will be able to utilize this resource as their own campus and see their feedback incorporated into the curriculum.



Friday, March 5, 2021

AM 1 Session: 9am-10am


On the Exploration of Effective OER Practice and Pedagogical Benefits in Online Course Design and Delivery


Presenters:     Grace Zhou Seo, University of Missouri-Columbia

        Pearl Jingrong Xie, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Moderator:     Jaleh Fazelian, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: The demands of affordable and accessible educational resources from students become the primary driving force for Open Educational Resources (OER) adoption and development in U.S. higher education. Equity of access in higher education has been a persistent issue. Technology plays the role of a double-edged sword, which creates access and inequality (Beaunoyer et al., 2020), as online learning increases the inequality for those who can’t access or afford the technology. For instance, the existing “digital divide” issue becomes real to us who witnessed students struggling or read the updated report about those around us grappling with it. Furthermore, the education cost continues to rise, which drives increasing student debt in the United States. The total student debt held by 44 million Americans is over $1.5 Trillion (Warner & Thune, 2019). The use of OER shows great potential in addressing equity of access issues in higher education. This presentation aims to explore effective OER practice and discuss pedagogical benefits to allow instructors and instructional designers to improve quality course design and delivery. In this presentation, two instructional designers, who have been assisting with many emergency remote teaching projects in the University of Missouri System since the COVID-19 pandemic started, will share their experiences and cases related to the OER in the online course design. The implications of OER in online learning will be discussed.


Collaborating to Support Student Success: Exploring Free e-Text Access at Illinois State University


Presenters:     Julie Murphy, Illinois State University

        Rachel Scott, Illinois State University

        Anne Shelley, Illinois State University

        Mallory Jallas, Illinois State University


Moderator:     Sarah Fancher, Ozarks Technical Community College


Abstract: A number of studies have shown a connection between the cost of textbooks and student success in higher education. While Milner Library has traditionally contributed to student success on many levels, we wished to address particular challenges to student success and equity that have been magnified by COVID. In Fall 2020 a project team of librarians from a variety of departments secured funding for a coordinated effort to license available e-textbooks for Spring 2021 courses. Major goals of this project are to help alleviate textbook costs for students and explore the potential impact of these savings on student success. In this panel, we will describe project planning and progress to date, while emphasizing the contributions brought by each librarian’s role and specialized knowledge.

AM 2 Session: 10:30am-11:30am

One Size Does Not Fit All: Making Open Textbooks More Accessible


Presenter:     Judy Schmitt, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Moderator:    Tracy Stout, Missouri State University  


Abstract: We take a lot for granted when we live without disabilities. As educators, we should strive to make our textbooks not just open but also accessible. This session is for anyone who wants to move closer to the goal of a fully accessible textbook, including those who know alt text is important but don’t have a clue how to handle graphs or complex math equations . . . who wonder what (if anything) can be done with a PDF that doesn’t comply with accessibility standards . . . whose “textbooks” are trapped inside an LMS . . . or who’ve never really considered the role color and font play for people with visual disabilities. Join us to learn these and other unknowns of accessible textbook adaptation and creation.

AM 3 Session: 11:00am-12pm

Adapting and Creating A&OER Materials to Improve Learning for All Students


Presenter:    Yun Zhang, University of Missouri-Columbia   

Moderator:    Christina Virden, MOBIUS Consortium


Abstract: In my large enrollment College Physics 1 and College Physics 2 courses. I have adapted the Openstax College Physics textbook and have created affordable courseware based on the learning-centered pedagogy. In this session, I will share my experience of how these A&OER materials are accessible to all students before the first day of class and how they better facilitate learning for all students. I will engage the participants with a hands-on activity that exemplifies the learning-centered techniques instructors can implement to help students achieve learning outcomes.

PM 1 Session: 1pm-2pm

The Role of Sharing in Promoting OER


Presenter:     Helena Marvin, University of Missouri-St.Louis

Moderator:    Scott Curtis, University of Missouri-Kansas City


Abstract: Open educational resources are freely accessible, but only if you can find them. After creating assets for teaching and learning it is important that we share them. This presentation will highlight some best practices for sharing and showcasing OERs. Examing why getting your OER into the hands of other instructors and self-learners is important and an overview of how to share and promote OER at the item level.


Cultivating Ecologies of Care through Locally Sourced Anthologies


Presenter:     Matt Kimbrell, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Moderator:    Jaleh Fazelian, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: This presentation examines an ongoing project to curate a locally sourced anthology in a junior-level Writing about Literature course, a course tasked with promoting greater interpretive self-awareness in the undergraduate learner. As Gerald Graff, Terry Eagleton, Jonathan Culler have noted, curricular decisions position students in a particular relationship to what counts as knowledge. This suggests that the selection of texts to analyze in a Writing about Literature course may be a significant act. In courses prioritizing such meta-theoretical interests, one pedagogical intervention may be to gather selections from department colleagues with the hope of fostering more careful textual engagement by inviting students into a more accountable relationship to the authors they read. In short, this admittedly ambitious and aspirational project seeks to resist the increasingly fragmented university experience—a fragmentation exacerbated by the Covid 19 global pandemic—by restoring the circulation of writers and readers in a local community. By reimagining the English classroom as a local site of textual circulation, instructors may be able to foster more sustained acts of interpretive care than is available through engaging traditional anthologies. But this pedagogical shift from the traditional anthology to the locally sourced anthology is not without criticism, and the presentation will welcome a discussion of the limitations and complications of this approach.

PM 2 Session: 2:30-3:30pm


Gathering at the Table: How to Build Your Team for A&OER Campus Success


Presenter:    Kayla Reed, Missouri Southern State University

        Christina Virden, MOBIUS Consortium

        Lisa Farrell, East Central College

        Megan Phifer-Davis, St. Louis County Library


Moderator:     Lindsay Schmitz, University of Missouri-St. Louis


Abstract: Ensuring that your college’s A&OER initiatives are inclusive and serving the diverse needs of faculty and students alike means exploring their course requirements, working across campus units, and building relationships with constituencies that you may not have considered. The panel members will offer their experiences with building a team to adequately support faculty as they make the transition to course use and/or publishing A&OERs. Teams have included faculty from all disciplines. They have looped in librarians, instructional designers, bookstore managers, and accessibility officers. Some may include student government representation, on-campus copy services, and even more. Panel members will discuss their various campus states with A&OERs, from gathering a team and developing a pilot program, to implementing full Z (zero cost) courses, to faculty OER publications, including some lessons learned and trial and error.


Grassroots OER: Advocating for an OER Repository for English Language Teaching and Learning


Presenters:     Chadia Mansour, Athabasca University

        Charity Davenport, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

        Sharon Tjaden-Glass, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH


Moderator:    Jeanette Pierce, University of Missouri-Columbia


Abstract: English language teaching (ELT) professionals have especially urgent needs for affordable and open access to OER. Professional organizations are uniquely positioned for leading efforts in increasing access to OER for ELT professionals. Volunteers and communities of practice within such organizations play crucial roles in initiating, collaborating, and leading change. Top leadership is critical for supporting such agents of change to make progress. In this session, presenters will highlight their initiative for an OER repository for under-resourced countries under the umbrella of TESOL International Association. The purpose of this project is to advocate for educational equity by promoting openness and accessibility of digital resources for ELT communities around the world with limited access to resources, which directly supports the mission of the TESOL International Association. They will also share their experience as members of a community of practice as they navigated the intricacies of advocating for the creation of an OER repository before and during the time of COVID-19 pandemic.