Contributed by: James Glapa-Grossklag
ICDE Open Educational Resources (OER)
Advocacy Committee, Chair and Ambassador
Educational Technology, Learning Resources, and Distance Learning, US
Advocacy for Open Education often focuses on institutional practices, financial resources, or government policy: recognize authorship of Open Educational Resources (OERs) as a legitimate form of academic scholarship or fund a grant program to encourage adoption of OERs, require government publications to be openly licensed. In most cases, the ideas behind these efforts focus on students: expanding access for students by removing cost barriers or improving student learning by enacting open pedagogy. Nevertheless, advocacy for Open Education rarely involves students themselves.
A project in California aims to change that. On February 5th, 2019, in Los Angeles, an OER Student Advocate Network was launched. This project aims to develop and empower current higher education students to become effective advocates for OER. A small number of California Community Colleges and California State Universities currently engage students in OER projects. The total of eight students advocating for OER at these institutions was identified and recruited to participate in the OER Student Advocate Network.
The initial meeting brought together the students with experienced leaders in the Open Education field: Barbara Illowsky and James Glapa-Grossklag, who are guiding this project. The project is generously funded by the Michelson 20MM Foundation, whose mission is to improve postsecondary access, affordability, and efficacy.
The goals set for the students are to develop a toolkit for student OER advocates, improve their ability to advocate for OER awareness on their own campuses, and to enlist other students and student governments to promote OER to faculty. In addition, the students will speak at academic conferences and submit articles to newspapers, with the aim of encouraging other institutions to engage their students in OER initiatives.
This project will also empower students with coaching and mentoring on skills such as public speaking, writing formal resolutions, and developing promotional campaigns. Overall, this experience will engage and develop future leaders and place them firmly within the OER advocacy world.