Reflecting on Open Education Week

Although Open Education Week 2019 was nearly a month ago, I still want to take a moment to share what the University of Houston did and reflect a bit on our first time participating. This post on UH Libraries News shares information on Open Education Week and how we celebrated. Here’s a little more about each piece of our #OEWeek programming:

Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP)

This is our existing incentive program which encourages instructors to replace commercial textbooks with open or alternative textbooks. Open Education Week fell right in the middle of our application period, so it was a well-timed opportunity to promote the program. I can’t say if Open Education Week specifically led to an increase in applications, but it was one of several promotional strategies used.

OER Drop-in Consultations

I partnered with UH Faculty Engagement and Development to hold “drop-in consultations” in our Faculty Cafe as a way to meet faculty where they are to answer questions about OER. I hosted a drop-in consultation hour twice a week throughout February and March. Again, this wasn’t developed specifically for Open Education Week, but Open Education Week provided another opportunity to promote something that was already going on.

ATIP Faculty Insights Presentation Viewing

Earlier this semester I co-presented with some faculty colleagues about our incentive program, and we saw significant attendance and interest at the presentation (you can see the recording and slides here). Faculty Engagement and Development offered to host a viewing of the recorded presentation in the Faculty Cafe, and the timing worked out so that it fell during Open Education Week. The idea was that this would provide an additional opportunity to learn about the program and ask questions of the presenters, who would also attend the viewing. However, this event had very little attendance. You could call it a failure or a flop, but at least I learned that this type of event probably isn’t worth repeating in the future.

Instructor Textbook Survey

For a little while now, my Dean and I have been talking about the need to find out who is using OER across campus. It’s easy to track within the scope of our incentive program, but there are certainly more people using OER that we just don’t know about yet. Open Education Week provided extra motivation to put the wheels in motion on this project, and we worked together to develop a survey in time to send out during Open Education Week. The information we’re gathering will help determine the overall impact of open education across campus and contribute to the growth of the UH OER program.

You might have noticed that everything listed above is something we were already doing, or were planning to do, regardless of Open Education Week. It can be easy to feel pressured to “do something for Open Education Week” just because it’s Open Education Week (or any other celebratory week that’s relevant to you!). But the reality may be that #OEWeek is at a bad time of the semester for your campus, or you don’t have the resources to develop substantial programming, or any other reason why it just isn’t right for your  program at the time. I think the more important thing is to do what makes sense for your institution. If the timing works out to make it an “Open Education Week thing” – great! But if not, that’s okay too.

“You Are Here” photo by John Baker on Unsplash.

This post is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

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