This is a special guest blog post by Weirong Cai and Kelsie Aguilera, both teach Anthropology at Leeward CC.
There has been two year since I first learned about OER. I had questions about OER such as “what types of OER material are available,” “can I find quality materials for the courses I teach,” “what if there are restrictions for using OER but I’m not aware of such restrictions,” “how much time will it take for developing a course using only OER,” and so on. I now have answers to most of the questions thanks to the OER workshop I’m attending now. At the workshop we had the opportunity to explore some OER databases. Obviously, the amount of OER has increased rapidly in recent years, and the sharing of OER materials has become more regulated and systematic. I also came to the understanding that, while being open (free) for anyone to use, most OER have some restrictions about the way the materials are used. The information and knowledge I learned at the workshop will help me make plans for adopting OER materials in my teaching.
I have also been interested in OER for about two years, ever since I first learned about them from my ex-office mate, Jayne Bopp. For the past two years and before I took the OER workshop I’m attending now, every now and then, I would casually look for OER materials. I didn’t have much success looking for OER materials on my own and just concluded that OER wasn’t for the discipline of anthropology. What I found so valuable about the OER workshop offered is the support structure provided. I have been working very closely with the EMC and our librarians and it turns out that they are much better at finding OER than I am! I am now confident that I can go OER by next semester. Going OER is important to me because it keeps the costs of our courses down and starts everyone off on the same footing— everyone has the course materials they need to be success from Day 1 of the semester.