Librarian talks OER at state capitol

Mar 12, 2019 · Abbey Elder

Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian, and Kyle Collins, associate dean of Online and Blended Learning for Northeast Iowa Community College, presented to the Iowa House and Senate Education Committees on Feb. 18. The purpose of this presentation was to educate the legislature about the high cost of college textbooks and to explain how open educational resources (OER) can help with these costs in some cases.

OER are free educational materials that are openly licensed to encourage use and reuse. At Iowa State University, OER are one of many initiatives in place to save students money on course materials. You can read more about the options available in the ISU Affordable Course Content Initiatives brochure.

The Iowa Open Education Action Team, which began meeting last November, is composed of representatives from the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa House of Representatives, community colleges and Regent’s universities. There are currently eight members, but this number will grow as representatives are added from private colleges as well. The goals of the action team are as follows:

  • To gather baseline information on how OER are being implemented across the various higher education institutions in Iowa;
  • To build capacity for the development and growth of OER initiatives across the state; and
  • To put forward recommendations for professional development, funding and other support opportunities for the action team to develop and share.

Both legislative committees showed great interest in the information presented and had several follow-up questions for the team. No legislative action was requested. The next step for the state action team is to build a broader network of stakeholders with which to share resources and support.

For more information about the presentation or OER at ISU, contact Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication librarian.