Leading the Charge in Open and Shared Resources
A key component of the 4-VA initiative is the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) — freely accessible, openly-licensed text, media, and other digital assets applied for use in a particular course of study.
Although the mission and the journey to achieve these benefits can often be markedly different for each 4-VA grant recipient, several overarching goals are consistent:
- Provide students with the latest information and guidance on a subject;
- Incorporate a variety of media approaches to engage and enlighten;
- Offer a self-guided tutorial into the subject that can be digested at the students’ own pace; and
- Create and/or identify associated materials that can inform students on a variety of topics related to the course of study.
Utilizing these options, faculty also have the ability to institute a “flipped” classroom. By providing these materials in advance, students can arrive at class with a basic level of understanding of the topic, thus providing the opportunity for a more expansive discussion and investigation in class.
Importantly, perhaps the greatest benefit is student savings – reducing or eliminating the outlay for an often-costly textbook.
While the goals are worthy, achieving them can often be fraught with challenges. With the flood of information and resources comes the responsibility of vetting the material and tailoring it to the particular flow of the course as well as the needs of the students. Often, is no easy feat. Supervising or conducting this research is time-consuming and demanding. But the results, when carefully produced, are of tremendous benefit.
Thanks to 4-VA, eleven course redesigns were successfully accomplished during the academic year.