8th Annual Academic Technology Institute 2018

8th Annual Academic Technology Institute 2018

June 12, 2018

ATI 2018: USNH Open Education: Pedagogy, Technology, & Advocacy

From May 30th-31st, 2018, the 8th Annual USNH Academic Technology Institute (ATI) was held at the University of New Hampshire – Durham. The theme of the Institute was USNH Open Education: Pedagogy, Technology, and Advocacy. Faculty who were selected to attend as 2018 ambassadors engaged in workshops infusing Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Pedagogy/Open Educational Practices, and Open Access Publishing with pedagogy techniques and technology tools. Sessions also focused on advocacy approaches to advance awareness and adoption of Open Education within USNH and beyond. During ATI, ambassadors refined Open Education projects to initiate within their classrooms in the next academic year.

Attendees were given opportunities to learn more about Open Education; hear authentic student stories and experiences with open; plan goals/ milestones for their projects; work with institutional, cross-institutional, and project-based groups; network and make connections with colleagues in formal and informal sessions; explore various technology tools and pedagogical strategies; learn about past ambassadors' projects; and determine individual and institutional advocacy actions for the coming academic year.

Day One Overview: Wednesday, May 30th

Day 1 ATI 2018 Twitter Moment

Morning Keynote

In the morning, Alexis Clifton (pictured right) joined us as the ATI 2018 Keynote Speaker. As Executive Director of SUNY OER Services, Alexis Clifton works with State University of New York (SUNY) institutions to establish, support, and expand their OER programs. She helps to identify each institution’s goals for Open Education, as well as to foster collaboration between campuses to expand options for effective open practices.

In her keynote, Alexis spoke about her experiences with SUNY and related it to the growing USNH Open Education Initiative. She painted a picture of rising higher education and textbook costs, and exaplined how OER can help lower these costs for students. She demonstrated mentimeter.com as a tool for audience participation during presentations and lectures, while getting a sense of ATI attendees’ experience with, excitement about, and reservations with OER. Alexis provided foundational information about OER, Education Fair Use guidelines, licensing, and creative commons. She encouraged ambassadors to approach Open Education with an open mind, and to be willing to work with Open Educational Resources to make them into high quality alternatives to expensive college textbooks.

 

View Alexis' presentation slides

Alexis returned in the afternoon to facilitate a workshop: Backwards Design with Open Pedagogy, in which participants identified a course and/or course objective of their choosing to apply backwards design principles to (see handout here). Alexis also provided participants with an OER Lesson Map for evaluating OER course materials, mapping assessment, and transitioning additional course modules to OER as desired. Other materials and resources can be found Alexis' New Hampshire ATI Shared Google Drive.

Student Perspectives on Open Education Panel

The Student Perspectives on Open Education Panel was also included in the lineup of the first day of ATI. (Pictured from left to right) Douglas Ericson (KSC), Ryan French (PSU), Joshua Stevens (KSC), Olivia Jackman (UNH), and Nathan Theriault (PSU) answered questions about their experiences with Open Education in the classroom. The academic disciplines that the students spoke about included Biology, Digital Literature, and a freshman English course. Students answered questions about creating Open Educational Resources, designing learning objectives and course syllabi, using Twitter to create and maintain professional learning networks, and writing/ publishing academic, research-based blog posts.  

The students described Open Education as an engaging method of learning that gave them opportunities to do work that felt worthwhile to them. Students felt that creating OERs or completing research-based blog posts allowed for deeper learning of their content. Ryan talked about how he has gained tangible, technical skills that he can put on a resume and that will help him land a job once he graduates. The work that was completed in the open felt important to students; Douglas was invested in the work he completed in his Biology course: “Besides the huge plus of not having to pay for a hundred dollar textbook, you also create your own resources. You take more pride in the work you do because you know that someone else might use it and might learn from it. That’s really exciting.” Other students also felt that putting their work in the open helped them take their work more seriously. They revised work and encouraged their peers to revise. Joshua talked about using twitter to comment on his classmates’ work and encourage them to “rework and rewire” when needed. Olivia agreed that there was a greater desire to create refined work in an open classroom: “You put a lot more work into something you know the world will see.”

Ryan, Nathan, Douglas, Joshua, and Olivia also emphasized the connections formed and collaboration that took place in their open classrooms. They felt that everyone, including their professors, were on an even playing field. Together, everyone learned how to use new technology tools, academic strategies/ methods, and course organization/ planning methods. Sometimes, this process was daunting and stressful, but it allowed everyone to work together toward a common goal. Ryan, when answering a question about how he took notes on online resources, emphasized the limitations of traditional learning in relation to collaboration: “I like the feeling of pen and paper… but I worry about the limitations, especially when it comes to collaboration. It’s not open. I find that students learn best from each other, in addition to the text and the professor.” Olivia and Nathan were especially vocal about how the connections they made in open classrooms were unique and invaluable to their higher education experience.

Students were also realistic with their experiences, discussing the challenges they encountered and ways that they had to resolve these problems. Some students had a fear of making mistakes or posting work that wasn’t refined or “perfected.” Students felt they had to be extra careful with plagiarism concerns and properly citing sources. Panelists discussed that some of their peers were wary with open, and even wanted to return to the traditional essay writing and classwork that they were used to. Some peers had privacy concerns, and didn’t want to associate their real names with their public work. The panelists emphasized that the open environment certainly took some getting used to, and it was imperative for there to be plenty of support from the professor. To the students, complications seemed solvable and worth the final product they had by the end of their courses.

The students were asked to provide ambassadors with some advice they went forward with creating their Open Education projects for the next academic year. The panelists advised that faculty make sure that students have a solid understanding of Open Education. They also suggested that professors shouldn’t assume that their students will know how to use a tool, but should make sure to provide instruction, guides, and technical support along the way. Nathan encouraged faculty to use mistakes or difficulties as an opportunity to rework and revise their courses. Ryan suggested that professors use students’ mistakes as opportunities for revision: “There’s a fear of discomfort and a feeling of shame of being “wrong” when learning and developing assignments. I think that’s something that we really need to move away from… that’s really how you are going to learn, is by having the courage to go back and rework it.”

After the students answered questions, offered insight, and shared their authentic experiences with Open Education, the ambassadors took part in a variety of other sessions. Other presentations and sessions involved in the first day of ATI included:

  • Christin Wixson's Copy & Creative Commons presentation: "Copyright, You Had One Job:"

  • Irene McGarrity’s Platforms & Practices for Student OER-Creation presentation

Explore these links for ​fair use tools for analyzing use and determining whether it is indeed fair or an infringement on copyright: Thinking Through Fair Use Tool / Fair Use Evaluator

Day Two Overview: Thursday, May 31st

Day 2 ATI 2018 Twitter Moment

The morning of ATI day two was designed to give ambassadors the chance to explore different pedagogical strategies and technological tools that they may be able to incorporate in their Open Education projects. These sessions were led by both Academic Technology staff and past ambassadors. Some of the presentations and sessions involved in the second day of ATI included:

Advocacy Keynote

After lunch, the institute switched gears with Karen Cangialosi’s advocacy keynote. Karen (pictured right) is the Keene State College Open Education Faculty Fellow, Professor and Chair of Biology, and Keene State Faculty Academic Technology Steering Committee representative. Karen has incorporated methods of Open Pedagogy in the various Biology courses that she teaches, and spearheaded a movement to incorporate OER in the Biology B.S., B.A. and minor programs at Keene State College. This has led to zero textbook costs for students for most Biology courses.

 

View Karen's presentation slides

In her Thursday keynote, Karen emphasized that, although higher education is currently in crisis, this is a time of great opportunity for institutions of higher ed. New Hampshire receives the least amount of state support for higher education in the country, student enrollment is declining, tuition is increasing, and student debt is climbing. This is putting a lot of strain onto students; many are food and housing insecure and even homeless. This is a time of opportunity, however, because faculty can make substantial changes in transforming the lives of students. First and foremost, Karen charged faculty to consider how our system and institutions are advocating for students, not “customers.” She emphasized Open Education as a student-centered movement. Those who use Open Pedagogical strategies value accessibility of knowledge, student agency in how and what they learn, students as contributors instead of consumers, community collaboration, social change, and students’ creation of a digital identity.

The whole “open” concept is complex and there’s always more to learn; Karen urged ambassadors to be excited with the opportunities that open affords, rather than be frustrated with the complexity. Open Education requires professors to shift into the role of a learner, and often they must make beginners’ mistakes right along with students. However, this shift makes the relationship between student and teacher more equitable. As we saw with the student panel, students take note of and appreciate this change. According to Karen, one of the simplest ways that faculty can become advocates of Open Education is to first become aware of their own privileges and be willing to put time and effort into classroom changes that will benefit students. Karen said, “It’s not that OER doesn’t cost anything, it’s that we aren’t transferring that cost to the most oppressed population, which is the students.”

Advocacy can take many forms. Karen discussed ways that faculty can be advocates right where they are: by creating or finding an OER to incorporate into their classrooms; introducing Open Education to councils/ organizations that they are on; bringing speakers to campus, building learning communities, and running faculty workshops. Karen also emphasized listening to students, inviting students to workshops and talks, amplifying their voices on social media and beyond; becoming an active participant in the spaces that you ask your students to interact with (such as social media and blogging); and modeling digital citizenship and identity to students. Karen also spoke about how advocates are always questioning and critically evaluating everything: resources, books, ed tech, common educational practices, and even free tools (because nothing is ever truly “free”). And finally, as a system, we all can work toward increased, effective cross-system collaboration and even national collaboration. We can leverage leaders in our local institutions and systems, leaders like Robin DeRosa and members of the ATSC.

To wrap up her keynote, Karen urged us not to expect or provide simple definitions of open, to see complexity as opportunity and adopt a curiosity, to listen to experts and scholars, and to be aware of pitfalls and criticisms. She left us with a lot to think about, but an enthusiasm for the change that is possible when we embrace Open Education practices:

“What is your responsibility? Your students are going online anyway, with or without you. They’re going to have a digital presence, they are going to have a digital footprint with or without you… If faculty and staff in higher education don’t guide students to think about their digital footprint, their digital citizenship, then who will? We have a responsibility to our students to be doing this stuff. And it’s not just a responsibility, it’s an opportunity, because the students don’t just go on the web, they create the web… We want [the web] to be a place of real democracy, of real citizenship, of real engagement for student learning. This is the very ethos of Open Pedagogy.”

Thank You Ambassadors, Staff, and Speakers

The ATI planning committee would like to express our gratitude to several people who made ATI 2018 possible and successful. We would like to thank our keynotes, Alexis Clifton and Karen Cangialosi, for their presentations and leadership throughout ATI; the students who took time out of their summer vacations to bring their rich perspective of Open Education; and those who staffed the event, coordinating, leading sessions, and overseeing audio/ tech.

And, of course, the learning, collaboration, action-planning, and cross-institutional networking that took place would not have been possible without the participation of our 2018 ambassadors. They are what make the USNH Open Education Initiative possible. We hope that ambassadors left ATI feeling informed, supported, and energized to begin crafting their Open Education projects for this coming academic year.

We will see you all again on January 18th, 2019 where ‘18 ambassadors will reconvene for another Open Education Event!

(Picture of the ATI Visual Network between colleagues at ATI)

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