The UMass Dartmouth OER Commons Hub: A Community Space to Share Your Teaching Materials

by Emma Wood

One of the tenets of Creative Commons (CC) licensing is sharing your work with others. Creating free materials for the students in your course is valuable, but providing those materials for other educators to adopt and potentially remix helps to build the existing library of free and accessible learning tools. OER repositories store and link to materials that you can use, but you can also upload and display the worksheets, textbooks, quizzes, etc. that you have designed.

OER Commons is a well-known repository that provides a single point of access to a vast collection of openly-licensed teaching materials. New within the past few years, all Massachusetts institutions of higher education have their own page or “hub” where their OER authors can upload teaching materials. This allows institutions to showcase and share the OER work of their faculty in one convenient location.

The UMass Dartmouth OER Commons Hub has started to grow. For example, our group page hosts a Women’s and Gender Studies textbook by Catherine Villanova Gardner and a textbook for E-Commerce and E-Business by Shouhong Wang. Both resources are robust and support a full course without financial or other access barriers for students. Gardner’s resource offers 11 chapters covering topics such as intersectionality and feminist movements with the incorporation of colorful images and links to videos. Wang’s textbook  fills a gap in the available OER on electronic commerce by providing a much needed update to the freely available options. The resource is organized into six chapters and is simple to follow and download. Both authors have the unique ability to update and change their teaching materials as they see fit.

Please consider sharing your openly licensed materials in our OER Commons hub. OER Commons offers an Open Author tool to streamline the process of creating and sharing OER. I welcome any questions about the creation or adoption of OER and UMD’s OER Commons hub.

Adopt an Openly Licensed Textbook

by Emma Wood

The inaugural OER Adoption cohort at UMass Dartmouth was formed last year and resulted in significant cost-savings to students. The cohort, an example of campus collaboration, was established with stipends from the Provost’s Office, logistical support through the Office of Faculty Development (OFD), and expertise from the Claire T. Carney Library.

The premise of the cohort is simple – Faculty apply to be part of the group, attend workshops to learn more about openly licensed teaching materials, and commit to replace a traditional textbook with a free or low-cost option in one of their courses. For example, Prof. Yuni Kim of the English Dept. participated and decided to use two books of zero cost together in one of her courses: Modern World Literature Compact Edition and Invitation to World Literature.

Among the benefits of OER for faculty, are the flexible permissions given by the Creative Commons licenses the materials carry. We tend to think of the parameters of traditional copyright as restrictive while CC licensing offers a range of uses, including the ability to tailor and update material. The opportunity to remix or alter course materials is especially appealing when covering subjects that change rapidly.

The OER advantage to students is compelling. The price of textbooks has increased swiftly, and around 64% of students report that they have made a decision to forego purchasing a required textbook due to cost. Consequently, students without the textbook often find themselves earning a low grade or even failing the course. Still others may drop a course because of textbook cost or choose to take fewer courses.

If you find yourself dissatisfied with your current textbook or concerned about whether all of your students can procure the material, consider exploring the OER options in your subject area. The second OER Adoption Cohort call is live now through the Office of Faculty Development and accepting applications online through 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023. Questions may be directed to Emma Wood, Scholarly Communication Librarian or Dr. Jay Zysk, OFD Director.

“Flat World Knowledge: Open College Textbooks” by opensourceway is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is OER Adoption? There are quality OER options (openly licensed textbooks and teaching materials) available for many subjects that are ready to be “adopted” and incorporated into your class.

Where do I find resources to adopt? Openstax is one of the prominent names in openly licensed textbook publishing, but there are many other resources. Start here: https://guides.lib.umassd.edu/oer

How the Library Can Help with Your Course Materials

by Kari Mofford

Course Reserve services in the library are an excellent option for connecting students to required reading, especially at the start of the semester. Students may be waiting for the Amazon truck or a bookstore voucher and risk missing a reading or two. If you have a personal copy of a required textbook, the library can catalog it temporarily and make it available at the main desk for borrowing. Course Reserves offer a backup on days when a student has forgotten their book at home. We discuss openly licensed teaching materials and their cost-savings to students a lot on this blog, but OER are not the only way to be mindful of student budgets and access considerations. Materials under traditional copyright can also be shared and distributed when Fair Use is applied.

While the Library does not have textbooks in the collection, we encourage all faculty who are using print textbooks and/or course materials to place them on Course Reserve at the Library.  You just need to read our guidelines and fill out a request form.  Students may then check out items using their UMass Passes for a short period.  You can choose 2hr, 4hr, 24hr, 3 day, or 7 day for loan period to use.

Our library has a great collection, both in print and online with most of our journal articles available electronically.  If your class needs to access an article or chapter from an e-book for a class assignment, rather than saving it as a PDF in myCourses, just add the Permalink (example below) to your myCourses instead.  Not only does that clear any copyright issues, but it actually helps us to have better usage statistics which is important when we have budget decisions with the collection.

Open Education Conference 2023

The Open Education Conference is hosted annually to share information about open educational resources, open pedagogy, and open education initiatives. This conference celebrates the tenets of open education and promotes learning experiences that are inclusive to everyone, regardless of their background.

The conference was previously held in-person for sixteen-years but is now virtual event. OpenEd23 will be held November 7-9, 2023 online.#Opened23. For more information, check out the attendee guide, and take a look at preview videos of the keynote speakers can be found on the conference website.

There is still time to Register now to attend.

 

Open Access Week Feature: A Book Chapter About the History of Portuguese Colonies by Prof. Timothy Walker

As we continue celebrating International Open Access Week, we turn to an openly licensed book called The Globalization of Knowledge in the Iberian Colonial World which discusses botany, medicine, religion and mining in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. UMass Dartmouth Professor Timothy Walker of the History Dept. contributed a chapter to this freely available book called “Global Cross-Cultural Dissemination of Indigenous Medical Practices through the Portuguese Colonial System: Evidence from Sixteenth to Eighteenth-Century Ethno-Botanical Manuscripts.” The book is published under a CC BY-NC-SA Creative Commons license which means that not only can other researchers and faculty share the material, but they can also remix, transform, and build upon it.

When asked about his thoughts on Open Access publishing, Prof. Walker said “To be most effective, and to achieve the widest possible dissemination, knowledge needs to travel freely, unimpeded by online pay walls or the practical limits of print-only distribution of publications.  Open Access publishing online democratizes information by making it available to anyone with internet access, and guarantees the broadest impact of our scholarly work.  Open Access publishing should be a central aspiration for researchers seeking to publish and disseminate their work.”

Open Access Week Feature: SMAST Professor Published in OA Marine Science Journal

International open Access Week is a time to recognize scholarly research and published works that are available free of charge and unfettered by access barriers. Today we highlight Associate Professor Gavin Fay’s recent publication to promote Open Access publishing activities. Prof. Gavin Fay (Fisheries Oceanography) co-published “Navigating concepts of social-ecological resilience in marine fisheries under climate change: shared challenges and recommendations from the northeast United States” in ICES Journal of Marine Science. Starting in January 2023, ICES Journal of Marine Science became freely available, including the archive which extends back 120 years! Fay’s article focuses on the challenges and ambiguity in social-ecological resilience concepts and explores implications for research and implementation. Kudos to Prof. Fay!

Prof. Fay also has an openly licensed lab manual that is now linked in the UMassD Open Educational Resources (OER) Hub available through OER Commons. This lab manual resource is intended to provide an overview for lab members and others about how the lab operates and centers around developing interdisciplinary modeling approaches to extend the scope of applications for fisheries and ecosystem-based management.

Open Access Week Feature: Two OA Journals Founded at UMassD

International Open Access Week (October 23-29, 2023) is a time to recognize Open Access (OA), and to inspire scholars to engage in this publishing model in scholarship and research. OA means information that is available digitally without cost or access barriers. Today on the blog, we highlight two OA journals with UMass Dartmouth roots:

Journal of Feminist Scholarship

The Journal of Feminist Scholarship is an Open Access journal that was founded by UMD faculty members, Catherine Villanueva Gardner, Anna M. Klobucka, and Jeannette E. Riley, in 2011. Anupama Arora, PhD, Professor of English & Communication, and Women’s and Gender Studies, currently serves as co-Executive Editor with Jeannette E. Riley of University of Rhode Island. A few other UMD faculty are currently listed as co-editors.

The Journal of Feminist Scholarship is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes twice a year on topics that encourage a discussion of feminist thought for the twenty-first century. In addition to its regular issues, it publishes an interview series with important national and international feminist artists, practitioners, or scholars of color who have reshaped their fields. JFS has become highly regarded with frequent submissions, downloads, and citations in national and international fora. The journal is a great resource for researching feminist scholarship across the disciplines, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License which means that researchers are free to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles. The journal published a feminist criticism of paywall publishing.

Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies

Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies (PLCS) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed hybrid (online and print) journal that publishes original research about the literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world from a broad range of academic, critical and theoretical approaches. Mario Pereira and Anna M. Klobucka  currently serve as co-editors. PLCS is published semi-annually by Tagus Press in the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Tagus Press is the publishing division of the UMD Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, an outreach unit committed to the study of the language, literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. With the help of the Claire T. Carney Library, the journal is available publicly through Open Journal Systems (OJS) which aims to facilitate open access, peer-reviewed publishing. OJS is open source and enables the publication of articles and issues online and indexed in global services like Google Scholar, Crossref, and many others.

Are you interested in locating more OA Journals? Take a look at the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Celebrate International Open Access Week

This year’s theme for International Open Access Week (Oct. 23 – Oct. 29) is Community over Commercialization. Open Access (OA) places the value of accessible information to the public above monetary interest in knowledge dissemination. OA removes restriction from research outputs such as journal articles, books, datasets, and more. Have you ever hit a paywall in your research? Perhaps you have located the abstract for an article that sounds ideal for your project, but then you click to find a request for your credit card. Interlibrary loan is a solution for the UMass Dartmouth community in those circumstances, but what about researchers who do not have library resources available?

The free and immediate availability of academic publications online means that the research will be read and built upon by a wider and more diverse audience. With this greater exposure comes more opportunity in the academic and scientific community. This publishing model is not available for all academic research at this time, but acknowledging Open Access Week is a great way to expand awareness of OA, and to learn more.

Here are some ways to deepen your understanding of OA this week:

  • Check out a print book about OA publishing from the display in library.
  • Access books online from MIT Press Direct to Open.
  • Subscribe to our Scholarly Communications blog for OA features this week and beyond.
  • Stop by the library/MASSPIRG OA Week table from 11am – 3pm on Tuesday Oct. 24th in the library lobby.
  • Attend one of these OA Week webinars:

Research and Publishing Roundup

This blog will periodically highlight some of our UMass Dartmouth Community’s recent achievements in scholarly publishing, research, and news features. Congrats to the following UMD faculty and staff on their newsworthy work:

Professor Pingguo He (Fisheries Oceanography) and Technical Associate Christopher Rillahan (Fisheries Oceanography) co-published “Waiting for the right time and tide: The fine-scale migratory behavior of river herring in two coastal New England streams” in Marine and Coastal Fisheries. The study used high-resolution acoustic imaging to study river herring’s fine-scale behavior during spring spawning migration in two coastal rivers in Massachusetts.Associate Professor Nikolay Anguelov (Public Policy) was featured in an article about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in America. The article uses Anguelov’s research of data from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database.Associate Professor Gavin Fay (Fisheries Oceanography) co-published “Navigating concepts of social-ecological resilience in marine fisheries under climate change: shared challenges and recommendations from the northeast United States” in ICES Journal of Marine Science. The article discusses the challenges and ambiguity in social-ecological resilience concepts and explores implications for research and implementation.Associate Professor Mark Santow (History) published Saul Alinsky and the Dilemmas of Race. The book focuses on the community organizer’s attempts to grapple with the moral dilemma of race through his organizing efforts and writing.

Need help accessing any of these articles? Reach out to our Research and Information Literacy Services Librarians.

Making High Quality Videos

By Heather Tripp, Video Specialist

Whether it’s filmed with a smartphone or a professional camera, video is no longer an option in our world. Video started to take over print over a decade ago and has grown to be a requirement for businesses and organizations across the world. While we are bombarded with all kinds of images, having a video of high quality can still set yours apart.

Video has become an important medium for disseminating scholarly information. This may come in the form of video summaries of research findings or conference proceedings. Academics choose to promote their publications or scientific experiments through video to make the content more engaging and reach a wider audience. This blog will present some tips for creating quality videos:

Before you begin, a few key elements to think about are:

-What are your goals/who is your audience? This dictates the pace and feel of the video.

– Hook your viewer in the first few seconds of your video. The first six seconds are key!

– Tell a story. Stories tend to draw the viewer in and keep them watching.

One large element that can make your video easier to create and look better is to do pre-production. Things like, scouting out the area you plan on filming the day before. Look at the lighting at that time of day. How busy is it? How loud? Are there unsightly things like trash that can be removed? If you need to plug in a light source, is there an electric outlet?

This is also a good time to check out your camera and gear. Are the camera and microphone batteries charged? Do you have enough space on your card? Contact any talent and make sure they know the time and place to meet you.

High quality smartphones can take decent video and do much of the work for you, but it still needs a human touch to keep things creative and visually pleasing. One way of doing this is using the Rule of Thirds. Divide your screen into 9 cubes using 4 gridlines. By positioning key elements along the gridlines, you’ll end up with better compositions.

The rule of thirds identifies four points at the center of each grid line intersection that your subject should intersect. The subject should hit 2-3 of these points. The image above has the subject more to the side, leaving room for the addition of text.

Another trick is to use a shallow depth of field, which keeps your subject in focus, but the background is fuzzy. It’s almost always best to have a simple background, and using a shallow depth of field can make even the most distracting settings less so.

Once you have your video recorded and edited, you may want to consider adding music. Most popular social media sites have their own music library to browse through. I you want to add something of your own, keep in mind you need something either in the public domain or through a royalty free website. These can offer a single, one-time purchase, or a variety of subscriptions. Rules are different on each site, so make sure to read them.

Finally, where do you want your video to live? Popular places for horizontal videos continue to be YouTube and Vimeo. Social sites like TikTok and Instagram are best for vertical video.

Do you need support with making videos for your courses or scholarly endeavors? Please don’t hesitate to contact me.