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Missouri A&OER Symposium

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

Symposium Presentations

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Examining 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.

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.