SI521 "Open Educational Resources at the University of Michigan" Open Textbook/Information about this course

SI 521 Winter 2009 – Open Educational Resources and the University of Michigan

Th 5:30-8:30 pm, 412 WH | J Hardin Comments and suggestions welcome to

This course introduces students to the ideas and practices surrounding teaching, learning and research at a world class research university like the University of Michigan, and the emerging role in these practices of Open Educational Resources, including open content such as opencourseware, open access initiatives, open publishing of research and learning materials as found in open journals, databases and e-prints, open textbooks, related open software efforts such as open learning systems, and emerging open teaching experiments. The course will ground the students in how teaching, learning and research is done at the university level, and then survey relevant OER efforts, looking at their history, development, potential futures, and the underlying motivations for their progressive adoption by various members of the community of scholars.

These investigations will be placed in the context of how rapidly changing information technologies have changed the landscape of information generation, modification and evolution, dissemination, evaluation and use, and contributed to the establishment of varieties of open educational activities. It will investigate how such efforts are informed by social notions of liberal education and legal notions of intellectual property, and how widely available, easily accessible forms of information have affected these notions. The course will look at recent statements about the importance of OER for research and education by members of the academy and national research organizations, and look at how they affect the practices, and self-perceptions of practices, of students such as those in the class, and a wider community of scholars like the University of Michigan.

In each of these areas, the course will discuss specific ongoing OER activities and projects with University of Michigan administration, faculty, researchers, staff and students involved in the development, provision and analysis of OER, including the Medical School’s open medical curriculum initiative, the Library’s open access efforts, Scholarly Publishing’s open publishing experiments, a Michigan chemical process and dynamics engineering class’s open textbook, the UM-based open proteomics database project, intellectual property clarification, definition and education projects supported by the UM Library and others, efforts at open content generation assisted by university counsel, and open learning classes taught at UM. The course will discuss technical, social and educational questions that OER raise for a community of scholars like the University of Michigan, including questions surrounding their generation, availability, use and value to the university community.

This course will thus look at the communities of practice that are engaged in a number of OER efforts at the University of Michigan, and place them within a growing international movement of open educational content, software and teaching and learning. The people and projects from the University of Michigan give us a set of examples that span a wide spectrum of approaches to OER development, of level of “openness” in the developed materials, organizational models, commercial involvement, market evolution surrounding OER, social contexts of origin and early development, maturity and uptake, audience definition, community-building practices and argumentative stances of practitioner-advocates (among other things), allowing for interesting comparisons along a fairly wide set of dimensions.

This course will take advantage of the fact that we have in the School of Information, and at the University of Michigan, key players in the formation and analysis of a number of recent entries into the OER field. Through this work, there has developed an extended social network with participants in OER projects internationally and locally that will form the subjects of the course’s case examples. Founder-developers, managers, faculty, administrators, organizational leads and current project principals, including students, as well as participants from each of these projects will come into the class for the class to hear from and question as the course progresses.

Course Goals

The goal of the course is to introduce students to effective practices for research and learning at the university, to learn how these practices are affected by changing information technologies and social norms, and to introduce students to the OER dimensions of research and education. The class will investigate how research and learning are done at a university, look at OER as a field of study, and be introduced to a set of interesting examples of OER at the University of Michigan. Throughout the course the class will learn about the process and practice of research, teaching and learning from the perspective of knowledge resources and their use, and to a developing set of criteria for describing, investigating, comparing, and ultimately evaluating these kinds of resources. The class will in the process learn about the communities of generation and use of these resources, and the social, technological and legal environment that they work in. This will all be furthered through the semester-long investigation of real-life examples of University of Michigan OER development communities.

Learning Objectives

Understand and be able to apply:

Online tools and methods for learning and research: Including refereed publications, scientific data, searching tools and strategies, opencourseware and other open educational resources.

Library tools and methods for learning and research: how to use them and how these encompass, are different from, complement and/or are more/less effective than other online methods.

OER resources for research and learning - be able to identify where open access, e.g., or open textbooks, or open course content adds to, or detracts from, research and learning efforts or experiences, both in library and extra-library environments.

Understand how to evaluate materials that are available in different environments.

Understand how to use, and where appropriate, be able to contribute to, open materials.

Have control over: The underlying skills and practices of scholarly research and teaching and learning at a university. Basic conversation around OER – what are the underlying values driving its development; what are the societal benefits and costs; what are the targeted user groups; what are the institutional benefits and costs of its generation and availability; what are the benefits and costs for faculty, students and alumni of OER; what are the values for self-learners. How to identify OER. How to create and contribute OER. How to help others, including faculty, create OER.

Students will learn what OER are, how they fit into the knowledge work of a large university, and the context in which they have grown up, with a focus on the emerging communities of OER development at the University of Michigan.

Currently we are planning on an hour spent with each of the experts and project participants, and possible in depth interviews, as parts of student-selected project work, with them and/or other participants in the various projects, as we go through the course.

The course grade will be composed of:

A) Contributions to a class wiki, including chapter synopses, reviews of readings, speakers and student-chosen research areas – these will be individually assigned, ie, each student will do reviews, etc of some, not all, of the readings, speakers, etc.

B) a final exam covering readings, class speakers, wiki development, and lectures.

C) a project consisting of an at least 8-page student analysis of an aspect of one of the OER Communities covered in the course, or another similar project the student identifies in concert with the instructor; OR students have the choice to participate in the dScribe initiative, under the direction of the instructor and SI graduates working on the Open.Michigan initiative, to fulfill the project requirement.

D) participation on the class wiki, where we will be building references valuable for the case studies, putting the interviews and any course materials for discussion and Annotation and organizing and gardening as we go along. This may develop into an open textbook, modeled after those we will be discussing in the class, especially the UM ChemE model. Helping significantly to shepherd it is an option for the class project.

E) classroom participation over the semester, especially during the discussions with class speakers, asking questions, following up on areas of interest.

Weighting will be: A) 25% B) 25% C) 25% D) 20% E) 5%

Class metatag is si521W2009