Open At Conestoga: Library Q&A 

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Holly Ashbourne
Holly Ashbourne, eLearning Liaison

Holly Ashbourne, eLearning Liaison, answers questions about the Library’s OER Toolkit and open at Conestoga College. Select the link to read an introduction to Open Educational Resources at Conestoga. 

How does Conestoga support open? 

The Library, along with other departments like Teaching and Learning, has championed Open Educational Resources (OER) for years. We have supported faculty in various ways, including finding relevant open resources for courses, accessing and troubleshooting Pressbooks and H5P, and more. You can see how the Library supports Conestoga’s OER initiatives by reviewing our OER Toolkit and looking for upcoming OER-focused workshops. 

What OER initiatives are happening right now?  

Currently, Conestoga is participating in eCampusOntario’s Virtual Learning Strategy. We’ve been granted funding to create OER projects that help “drive growth and advancement in virtual learning across Ontario”(eCampusOntario, 2021, para. 1.). I am part of a group supporting various projects being developed by the School of Business faculty. Learn more about the VLS project results.  

An OER working group, made up of staff and faculty from various departments, has also been created. We are working on advancing the Open college-wide at Conestoga through initiatives such as supporting the VLS projects and creating a greater web presence of open at Conestoga. 

Do faculty have access to resources and technology to develop OER? 

Library & Learning Services has created the OER Toolkit to help you locate open resources and learn about OER’s impact on student success. This toolkit comprises nine guides that provide information and training on a range of OER-related topics, including open licenses, OER collections and repositories, H5P development, Pressbooks project management, and more. 

The online Open Library provides faculty with the opportunity to find, customize, and create OER. It hosts an ever-growing collection of OER–including programs, courses, textbooks, and supplementary material–that faculty can adopt for their courses or customize to suit their needs.  

Conestoga faculty also have access to the PressbooksEDU platform. This is an online publishing platform based on WordPress, allowing easy webbook creation without coding or formatting knowledge. Learn more about Conestoga’s Pressbooks instance and get your account set up. 

Another exciting tool we have access to is the H5P Studio, which leverages the open-source platform, H5P, that allows faculty to discover, share, collaborate, and create H5P interactives for their teaching and learning (eCampusOntario, 2020).   

The Open Library, Pressbooks, and H5P Studio are all available through eCampusOntario, which provides “infrastructure, training, and tools for post-secondary institutions across Ontario interested in learning more about Open Education” (eCampusOntario, n.d., para. 1). 

What are the barriers that faculty face adopting or adapting an OER right now? 

I think that Skidmore (2019) addresses the most common barriers that faculty face adopting or adapting an OER quite nicely. They include but are not limited to a lack of awareness about OER and open pedagogy, a lack of time and/or resources, questions about the quality of OER, lack of professional recognition, questions about copyright and IP, and a lack of a cohesive campus approach (pp. 13-14).  

Library & Learning Services, Teaching and Learning, and Conestoga’s OER champions strive to remove these barriers to make OER adoption and creation more accessible. Library & Learning Services provides support through workshops and consultations, technical troubleshooting, and assisting with OER development. Faculty can find out more about Library supports for OER by visiting the OER Toolkit and reading this other Faculty Hub article.  

What are some OER that Conestoga faculty have created? 

This is a great question! I am always excited to showcase OER by Conestoga faculty! You can find a showcase on the OER toolkit. We have a growing collection of open textbooks, including but not limited to: 

OER doesn’t have to mean textbooks. There are some exciting H5P interactives on the H5P Studio as well: 

Our faculty are creating OER projects all the time! If I’ve missed any, please respond to this post and let me know. 

Who do you follow on social media, or where can you find information about keeping current with the OER community? 

There are so many ways to keep up with the OER community! Conestoga College has two Teams on Microsoft Teams that faculty may be interested in joining: CC-Teaching at Conestoga and CC_Open Educational Practices. Faculty can post questions, share projects they are working on, events, and more! They are very supportive and collegial communities. 

Twitter is another excellent resource for keeping current with the broader OER community. There are many accounts and hashtags to follow. Some of the accounts that Conestoga faculty and I follow include PressbookseCampusOntario,  BCcampus Open@thatpsychprofOER Digest, and more.  

References 

eCampusOntario. (n.d.). Open educational resources: eCampusOntariohttps://www.ecampusontario.ca/open-education-resources/ 

eCampusOntario. 2020, June 26). Introduction to eCampusOntario H5P Studio [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/u_YfMjmX4Qo 

Skidmore, J. (2019). A Place for Policy: The Role of Policy in Supporting Open Educational Resources and Practices at Ontario’s Colleges and Universities. eCampusOntario.


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  • Published: August 13, 2021
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Elan Paulson

Elan Paulson, PhD, has been an educator in Ontario's higher education system since 2004. Before joining Conestoga as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, Elan was on the executive team at eCampusOntario. She previously served as Program Director and as an instructor in professional education programs at Western University's Faculty of Education. With a Master's in Educational Technology, Elan specializes in technology-enabled and collaborative learning to support diverse learners. She has also conducted research on faculty participation in communities of practice for professional learning and self-care.

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