Open Resources, Blended Learning Environments, and Ch-ch-changes

OER materials make me incredibly happy–free educational materials that you can use, re-use, remix, and re-distribute? I love so many things about Open Source materials, which is one reason why I recently accepted a job offer at the University of New Mexico. I will soon shift from being an English teacher at CNM to an OER Librarian at UNM. I have the incredible fortune of sharing my OER affection with others while helping to grow OER at my home university. I start June 1st, and I’m excited to pursue my passion for Open Educational Resources.

This move also makes me sad because I have many wonderful friends at my current job, and I enjoy working with my students. I never planned to leave my current job, and I didn’t want to leave New Mexico. I wanted my kids to feel grounded in one place they lived their whole childhood, something I didn’t have growing up. As a result, I limited my own imagination about what my future held. This restraint–accepting I would work at CNM until I retired or died–made my life more manageable.

This is why I am shocked and amazed about having the opportunity to explore a new field in my hometown that speaks to all my nerdy passions–writing, reading, learning, teaching, Open Educational Materials, and publishing.

The Interview

During the interview process, I was asked to present educational materials for a hypothetical audience of faculty who were curious about OER materials. The prompt asked that I discuss OER discovery and adoption through a mixed teaching modality.

I panicked when I read the words “mixed teaching modality.” What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did that mean? In the next sentence, the prompt read, “These materials could be used in an online, hybrid, web enhanced, and/or traditional face-to-face course.” I realized they were asking me to use a method I was already using since I teach online and supplement my courses with online materials. This realization helped me chill out a little bit.

In my presentation, I wanted to show the hiring committee that I was able to develop engaging materials that could be used both F2F and later online. I wanted the materials to be accessible to my audience, a room full of people where I was physically presenting, an online audience logging into my presentation, and asynchronous (attending at a later time) participants who were unable to make my presentation at the designated time.

I wanted to include digital activities that illustrated my teaching method.

Down below, I’m including the webpage I presented to the hiring committee, just to share a thing I made that helped me make a change in my life. See, my non-OER writing is still very OER-y. I love to share.

OER Presentation

Hi university educators,

I am embedding a video that covers the material I will deliver in my presentation.

OER Slideshow

Down below, I included the slide show I went over in the embedded video. It’s available for download.

Activity: Let’s Get to Know Each Other

During slide twelve of my presentation, I asked attendees to contribute their ideas in the Padlet presentation below. These are actual responses from librarians.

Made with Padlet

OER Interest Form

Lastly, at the end of my presentation, I asked attendees to navigate to this linked worksheet: OER Brainstorming Worksheet. This Google doc asks for 1) participant contact information and 2) any information about participants’ research needs and interests regarding Open Educational Materials. (P.S. the doc is blank because this was a hypothetical situation)

In Closing…

When I gave the presentation above, I had no idea if the audience would be receptive, but I decided to be myself and be confident in my abilities. I wasn’t sure if that was enough, and that’s a scary thing to do–open yourself and your heart up to strangers. My god.

Anyway, my default setting in the past has been a long, slow spiral into shame and self-doubt, and fortunately, during this life event, I had enough tools to keep that from happening. The stress I experienced during this process felt positive. And I was able to test my hypothesis that I could create change without having to sacrifice any other realm of my life, personal or professional. I also came to the conclusion that my anxiety can go eff itself.

Hooray for OER.

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