GSC OE Ambassador Projects 2017

In May eight GSC faculty attended ATI 2017 and embarked upon a new adventure examining their courses to find ways to embed OER (open educational resources) and/or open pedagogy into their courses to have a meaningful impact on the way they teach and the students learn.  The following is a summary of those projects.  In addition to these projects, 3 other faculty worked on a mini project to replace their commercial textbooks with OER or an open textbook.

Carolyn Cormier photo

Carolyn Cormier - (School of Education)

Open Pedagogy

I am working on my project in collaboration with two of my OE Ambassador colleagues.  The goal of this project is to immerse students in collaborative sharing and collective thought building by creating a personal learning network (PLN) in EDU612/702.  Specifically, students will develop a ten lesson Social Studies unit with the support and feedback of their PLN developed through Twitter, the GSC online community of practice (OCP), blogging, etc.  Students will also share their lesson ideas in open platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the GSC online community of practice.  Units will be shared via Padlet. In addition, by the Spring 2018 term I will transition the traditional Moodle discussion forums to social media forums via a course hashtag.  Also, the original research paper assignment will be replaced with a resource students will design for their colleagues on digital leadership in schools. 

Collaborators:  Emily Gannon and Amy Kopp.

Post-project Reflection

As my ATI 17 project, I worked to include elements of Open Pedagogy into the SOE courses EDU612/702, Using Technology to Teach Social Studies. First, I immersed my students into GSC SOE’s Online Community of Practice for Facebook, individual blogs with required responses, and Twitter to supplement the learning they were doing in the course. Although no students refused to do so, many were hesitant to connect socially at first, many sharing their aversion to social media and their hesitancy to use it for learning. Throughout the term, I began moving some course discussions out of Moodle and into these social platforms (tracked through a course hashtag), where students benefitted from the input and interaction of a much wider audience. Practicing educators, students in other courses, and other GSC faculty contributed to our course discussions in these more open spaces. Over time, students began to call upon these social connections as resources in their lesson planning and for trouble shooting problems of practice in the field.

In addition to moving discussions out of Moodle and into the open, I revamped a research paper assignment to become a more open tool (students created a freely accessible resource that addressed a need in their school). Although I invited students to license their work as an Open Resource, no one did so. In future iterations, I’d like to include more information about OER within the course, in an effort to increase students’ understanding of Open Resources and, perhaps, the likelihood that they might license their work as an OER.

At the close of the term I had several students share their happiness with the type of open work they were asked to engage in (you can read one student’s final blog reflection here). Several students commented on their willingness and desire to put more effort into their assignments in this course because they knew they had meaning, purpose, and value and several students mentioned the growth they experienced as a learner when they pushed beyond their comfort zone. As an educator, this makes me smile!

“I went from a student who was very focused on getting assignments right and getting A’s to one who desired to take risks, learn new things, and see growth in myself. Working on projects that were meaningful and would benefit others was so much better than writing another paper that only the course instructor would see meant I put so much more time and energy into them. This translated in higher level thinking and an exponential increase in learning” -GSC 612 student

Steve Couture

Steve Couture & Jonathan Kipp
Management (Undergraduate)

Open Pedagogy

As a part of a 2-person team we have collaborated on the development and delivery of MGMT 500, Principles of Management, for several years.  Two features have been incorporated into the course - a team project and the use of an OER textbook.  The goal of this project is twofold:  first is to introduce the concepts of OER and Open Pedagogy to students, and second is to provide them an opportunity to apply the concepts as part of the Virtual Teams Exercise (VTE) in MGMT 500 by challenging teams of students to recommend substantive improvements to the OER textbook case studies.  

This course already uses an OER textbook; In the weeks leading up to the VTE, discussion forum topics will address open education, and students will be required to contribute to the discussions to demonstrate their understanding. The Virtual Teams Exercise will  require teams of students to identify and choose a case study from the textbook for their project, collaborate on what changes to recommend, and submit recommendations for improvements, with explanation/justification.

Post-project Reflection

The students were most unfamiliar with the OER concept.  Providing them with a summary document to review and three weeks of discussion forums dramatically improved their knowledge and understanding of OER. As part of the VTE, the students were able to find improvements to make to the case studies of the course textbook.  However, many of their suggestions were to incorporate alternative media (YouTube, Tweets) that were beyond the scope of what we were expecting. It also created some insight that the textbook could be more of a learning platform than its current format.

In the last week of the course students are asked to share their reflections, and many commented that they were pleased to learn more about OER, and would be looking for opportunities to use the approach in future courses. Overall the project achieved its goals while also identifying the students’ desire for a more robust course primary reference.

Pat Erwin photo

Patricia Erwin-Ploog - Digital Media (Undergraduate)

OER and Open Pedagogy

I will redesign SOSC519 Living in a Digital Democracy to support the module on citizen journalists. Becoming a citizen journalist and telling a story using social media requires certain skills and responsibilities. This project will provide students with a framework under which they can explore the nature of citizen journalism, how it is being used, and the  evaluation/value of information on current events first published via social media.  

This course has never used textbooks hence it demands a review each year to keep current and relevant. The OER created will focus on skills, ethical considerations, and look at how technology has changed the reporting of news. All work complete as part of this project will carry the creative commons (cc) license and will be made freely available.  

Post-project Reflection

With only three students in the class, I am not sure too many conclusions can be drawn about the value of the assignment. However, each of the students did reflect on the assignment with some insightful observations. They were asked to be citizen journalists and report on a town meeting. As a preliminary to the assignment there were readings on journalistic ethics, and they were asked to develop, post, and discuss their own code of ethical behavior as citizen journalists. They took this short preliminary assignment very seriously.  Interestingly, the three students chose to attend a school board meeting where the annual budget would be presented. This turned out to be a new and enlightening experience for all of them. They each said they would be far more attentive to town budget discussions, and the impact on taxes, in the future. I considered that a major win for the class!

In thinking about the assignment for future classes, there are two improvements I will make. The first has to do with writing. All three students had trouble transitioning from writing a research paper to reporting the news. I need to spend more time and develop good examples that highlight these two distinctive styles of writing. The second improvement has to do with scheduling. I had assumed that our students, who are working adults, would have at least one or two evening free. If one works the night shift that is not the case. I need to come up with alternatives to attending evening meetings. I did find a video of how towns that do not have a local newspaper are using citizen journalists and social media to keep citizens informed. The video proved to be a big hit and inspired one student to think about how this could work in his own small town.

Finally, there was some confusion about evaluations. My three students dutifully completed the USNH evaluation on the open pedagogy assignment; none of them completed the course evaluation, despite my prompting. I think they thought one evaluation should do it.


Emily Gannon

Emily Gannon - (School of Education)

Open Pedagogy

I am working on my project in collaboration with two of my OE Ambassador colleagues.
This project includes the development and maintenance of a public Online Community of Practice (OCP) in which GSC School of Education (SOE) students may share their clinical experiences, articles, videos, and questions.  The OCP will be present on Facebook (as a public group) and Twitter (#GSC_OCP).  Course instructors will be able to embed the OCP Twitter feed into their Moodle shells.

The OCP will help to make clinical feedback more dynamic and constructive.  Currently, teacher candidates are observed once per clinical course. Aside from one post-observation debrief meeting, candidates are not asked to revisit their faculty member’s feedback or to demonstrate growth in specific target areas.  

The OCP will provide an opportunity for all students to engage in a reflective improvement process,  throughout their entire clinical experience.  This regular cycle of observation, reflection, and progress monitoring will ensure that implementation of faculty suggestions and student improvement plans are alive, relevant, and meaningful.  Supporting our students in their quest to access information, techniques, and next practices outside of their school, state, and learning management system will open doors to new ways of thinking and learning.  

This Open Ed project would apply to all School of Education courses that include supervision by a Field Placement Faculty member.  To start, the project will be integrated into teacher candidates’ field based experiences on a volunteer basis.  If successful, the project could become a required component of all field based EDU courses.

 Collaborators:  Carolyn Cormer and Amy Kopp.

Amy Kopp photo

Amy Kopp - Library-Media / Technology Integration Specialist (School of Education)

Open Pedagogy

I am working on my project in collaboration with two of my OE Ambassador colleagues. Currently, all of the clinical courses in the Educational Technology Integrator (ETI) certification program ask candidates to create a unit plan that employs meaningful technology integration. We realized that working with students is only one part of the responsibility of the ETI. Often the Technology Integrator is also charged with professional development of staff. We needed to find a way for our ETI candidates to manage the instructional aspects of integrating technology into lesson plans while also providing resources and training to staff.  This project will address this challenge by preparing ETI candidates to create a digital resource for their staff that allows them to distribute resources and trainings in one location that can be accessed at anytime. Candidates will create a digital open resource and compile at least 3 different artifacts that they have created to train staff members. Candidates will conduct a survey of the staff members who utilized the open resource for staff development. Candidates will put a creative commons licence on their resource and share it in the online community of practice at GSC.

Collaborators:  Carolyn Cormeir and Emily Gannon.

Post-project Reflection

I chose to do my ATI project in my course, EDU 773, Meeting the Needs of All Learners through Technological Integration. In this course, students were originally asked to create a research paper that outlined 3 different assistive technology devices available to teachers and students. As I thought about what Open Education meant, I decided to utilize a more “open” pedagogy approach to the course and remove the research paper, which I felt was a “disposable” assignment that wouldn’t really make a difference when the class was over. Instead, I chose to replace the research paper with an assignment that asked the candidates to create a resource page that had technology tutorials, and resources that would be utilized by the teachers that they would serve as a Technology Integrator. My class only had two students in it, but both of them were already working in a school setting in some capacity and this resource page assignment seemed to be more beneficial to them than creating a research paper.

As I thought about what worked well and what didn’t throughout this project, I realized that I wish that I had been more knowledgeable about just exactly what Open Education was prior to writing my proposal.  After the ATI Institute I felt as if I had a much better handle on the whole initiative in general. As a result of this, I started with a smaller project, but now feel as if I could try to do something bigger and better.  Although I started off very green, the instructional design team at GSC was very helpful and available whenever I needed support. Over-all, I felt that this experience has helped me to grow and stretch myself as a professional. I have learned a great deal and am grateful for the opportunity.   


Paula Lombardi photo

Paula Lombardi - Special Education (School of Education)


I am developing a course ebook for EDU 607-703.  In addition to saving each student over $200, the OER eBook will support the course teaching resources in a format that is easy to access, OPEN, and scaffolds teacher candidate prior knowledge in math from the beginner to the experienced math teacher level.

The eBook will be an aid in keeping the course content current and cut down on the Moodle revision work that is currently needed. I would be able to add many more resources than are currently in the Moodle course which would help to cover the wide range of K-12 math levels and the continuum of challenges K-12 students with disabilities present in learning mathematics. Students will also be contributors to the eBook.

Claudia Michael photo

Claudia Michael - Arts (Undergraduate)

OER and Open Pedagogy

In the design of the course “Introduction to Drawing”,  I will be using OER resources, specifically You Tube instructional videos that demonstrate drawing skills fundamental to the course. I will be producing some resources such as slide decks and digital images for instruction and as examples.  Students will have the option of sharing their work on Instagram.

Post-project Reflection

OER’s were instrumental for students in meeting the learning objectives of the online course, Introduction to Drawing.   Demonstrations in a studio class are a necessary and effective teaching strategy.  Almost every module of the course included open source YouTube videos that I curated to demonstrate many of the drawing skills that students were learning and practicing. The videos provided the necessary visual demonstration of techniques and proper use of tools.  Judging by the spectacular drawings submitted by students, I know they benefitted from watching the videos. In addition students purchased a very inexpensive text. I supplemented the text by creating slide decks and image files using OER’s in Google Images and Instagram.  I produced several demonstration videos, which I published on YouTube with an open license. The videos that I created were on drawing content and skills specific to the course assignments and learning goals.  My demonstration videos included tips about materials and techniques and approaches to drawing assignments.

As an option for students to showcase their drawings to a wider audience, I created an Instagram account for the course. I suggested students post weekly drawing assignments so that followers outside of the course could support their progress. Unfortunately, since this was an optional task, the students did not take advantage of the opportunity.

Emily Moore photo

Emily Moore - Arts (Undergraduate)

OER and Open Pedagogy

I will be moving my Intro to Watercolor class to an online format.  In doing so, I will be creating a variety of watercolor tutorials that will be uploaded to YouTube and be openly accessible to the general public as well as my enrolled students.  The CC license I intend to use is BY-NC.  

OER Mini Projects

In addition to the OE Ambassadors projects, 3 GSC faculty were selected to work on a mini project in which they replaced the course textbook with Open Educational Resources.  These courses will be offered over the Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 terms. 

  • John Lund: HIS510.1OL: U.S. History to 1865 (Fall 2017)
  • Beth McKenna: PSY508.1OL: Child Development (Fall 2017)
  • Julie Zink: COMM800.1OL: Foundations of Organizationl Communication (Winter 2018)