Not Open For All: Accessibility of Open Textbooks

In order for open educational resources (OERs) to be truly open to all, they must be accessible to learners with disabilities, including those with visual, auditory, physical and cognitive disabilities. This study sought to determine the accessibility of a randomly selected sample of 355 open textbooks using a custom rubric based upon the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), version 2.1, primarily at the Levels A and AA. Included books fell into one of four format types: HTML files/websites, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and EPUBs. The average number of ‘fails’ – instances in which they ran afoul of a rubric category – across the whole sample was 5.93 and the median was 6, out of a total of 14 or 15 categories, depending on the format type. Overall, most of the books did not meet basic accessibility requirements, such as including alternative text for any images, properly coding/tagging any tables and following a logical heading order structure.

OE Awards 2021 Open Assets Winners facilitate access to Open Education – OEGlobal

“In 2021, the Open Education Awards for Excellence celebrates its 10th anniversary. 

Every year for ten years, Open Education Global has recognized the brilliance within the Open Education sector through its Open Education Awards for Excellence. The winners of these awards represent works that encapsulate the aspirations of the movement, further inspire outstanding achievements, and add immeasurably to the shared wealth of the open education community. 

Celebrating the growth, diversity, and impact across the Open Education sector, this year there are four major focuses with 16 award categories in total. Each year, the awards categories grow to ensure relevance to the community and recognize the full range of open education activities, projects, resources, and practices. This year we are excited to introduce the Open Infrastructure Award highlighting the importance of a wider ecosystem that supports open education. 

At the end of September, on the last day of the OEGlobal 21 online conference, the first of of the Open Education Awards for Excellence winners were announced with the award for UNESCO OER Implementation was announced as a communal award to every one of the 294 presenters at the Open Education Global 2021 online conference for their “exemplary leadership in advancing the UNESCO OER Recommendation in their own practices”….”

New CARL VPO for Open Education – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is pleased to welcome Ann Ludbrook as Visiting Program Officer (VPO) for Open Education.

Ann is the Scholarly Engagement and Copyright Librarian at Ryerson University. She provides copyright education and support for the Ryerson community and is an active member of the CFLA Copyright Committee and the CARL Copyright Specialist group. In terms of open education, Ann is an originating and current member of the CARL Open Education Working Group and chairs their Community of Practice team. She has worked for over 8 years in the field of open education at Ryerson University and regularly supports Open Education projects. She was one of the librarians that worked on the CARL Copyright Open Educational Resource for University Instructors….”

Virtual Unconference on Open Scholarship Practices in Education Research

“The 2022 Unconference will feature participant-led sessions analyzing the current state of open scholarship practice and interactive hackathons seeking solutions to identified problems. Participants will assess barriers to adoption of open scholarship practices unique to the education community and brainstorm strategies for promoting greater awareness. 

The meeting will be hosted in Charlottesville, Virginia and features unconference sessions (fully online as well as in person), hackathons, and workshops (in-person only). Registration is open for virtual as well as in-person attendance – join now to confirm your seat! Your registration fees, along with a limited grant support, will provide travel support for colleagues who need it.

Additional information about opening and closing plenary speakers will be made available soon. Please also check back for the formal agenda this fall….”

Frontiers | Open Science for Veterinary Education Research | Veterinary Science

“The manifesto for reproducible science (15) details a range of approaches that can be used to support more open research practices. For veterinary education, there are a number that can be integrated into our current practice….

Data sharing is another aspect of reporting which supports openness within education research. While data sharing is highly prevalent in some fields, there are complex ethical considerations regarding human data within social science contexts (32, 36). Where participants are informed and have consented to share their data, and where reasonable precautions are taken regarding ethical concerns (37), sharing data can help reduce unnecessary data collection, support the development of researchers in areas like the Global South (38), and help to catch errors within the research process (39).

Finally, dissemination and reporting can be further improved through pre-printing, the process of making articles available prior to peer-review. Pre-printing has a host of benefits (40, 41) including enhancing sight of the findings and facilitating open review, improving the transparency of peer review, and facilitating the publication of controversial findings. Pre-printing also allows for the sharing of author’s final version manuscripts, as they can be updated post peer-review. This will support the availability of research beyond paywalls. Unfortunately, not all journals support pre-printing. In the author’s experience, both Medical Teacher and Journal of Veterinary Medical Education have in 2020–2021 discouraged the use of pre-printing by considering it prior-publication, thus making pre-printed papers unable to be published by those journals. However, other journals, such as Frontiers in Veterinary Science support the use of open publishing approaches. Researchers must be cautious in pre-printing to ensure they are not inadvertently cutting themselves off from their desired audience, but should also participate in journal communities to encourage pre-printing where appropriate….”

Embracing Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Instructional Materials

“Choosing instructional materials wisely is one of the most important jobs education leaders and teachers have, perhaps now more than ever. Unfinished academic instruction resulting from the COVID-19 crisis demands better ways to reignite student engagement and accelerate learning. At the same time, the disparate impact of the pandemic on students of color and growing efforts to quash discussions about systemic racism in schools reveals an urgent need to approach this work through a racial equity lens. This report argues that embracing high-quality instructional materials that are both rigorous and relevant is crucial to addressing these priorities.”

Welcome to the Open Education Leadership Program 2021-2022 Fellows! – SPARC

“SPARC is pleased to welcome the 2021-2022 cohort for the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, an intensive professional development program to empower academic professionals to lead impactful open education initiatives. As the program enters its fifth year, the incoming cohort is composed of 25 fellows from a wide range of backgrounds, spanning from open education librarians, student leaders, and government program coordinators. Selected from a competitive application pool, the 2021-2022 fellows begin the program this week….”

Special Collection Learning from Lockdown: challenges and benefits | Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Collection launched: 11 Aug 2021

The articles in this collection reflect different perspectives; of students, teaching staff and administrators; and of managers and leaders across very different institutions worldwide as decisions were made about how to respond to the pandemic and provide ‘emergency remote education’.

Authors reflect on how educational technology supported higher education provision during this time, yet although the perspectives are different, common themes emerged such as the importance to promote care and community – a principle which can inform future practice. Another theme is that of professional development for academics and teaching staff, and how best to support this during challenging times in a sustainable way. Similarly particular challenges for accessibility during the pandemic were reported and here too, suggested approaches to supporting accessibility follow sustainability principles to make them relevant for the future. Tackling inequity is another related theme found in more than one contribution including an approach taken by a USA liberal arts college to make all supporting materials for their courses free materials (such as open educational resources, OER).

The papers also represent different research methods and approaches, including a longitudinal study, surveys, interviews, student artefacts, meeting notes, workshop and course evaluations and recordings of managers’ meetings and decision making.

Guest Editors: Ann Jones and Katy Jordan

Libraries partners on IMLS grant for open education project | NC State University Libraries

“The NC State University Libraries, the Roger Williams University Libraries, and the Open Education Network (OEN) have received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Roger Williams University is the lead on the project.

The two libraries will use the two-year, $96,540 IMLS planning grant to develop a “Blueprint for Equitable Open Educational Practices (OEP).” The grant will also support a pilot training program in partnership with the OEN that prepares librarians and faculty to be partners in the adoption of these practices. …”

Virtual Unconference on Open Scholarship Practices in Education Research

“The 2022 Unconference will be hosted in Charlottesville, Virginia with virtual participation facilitated for general and relevant unconference sessions. Hackathons and workshops will occur in person. Please register above if you plan to participate in person or join the virtual sessions. All registration fees for in-person attendance along with limited grant support will be dedicated to providing travel support for colleagues. 

The 2022 unconference will feature participant-led sessions analyzing the current state of open scholarship practice and interactive hackathons seeking solutions to identified problems. Participants will assess barriers to adoption of open scholarship practices unique to the education community and brainstorm strategies for promoting greater awareness….”

Seminar.net special issue: Digital Capitalism, Datafication, and Media Education – Critical Perspectives | Seminar.net

As digitization and datafication continue to extend into all areas of society, digital capitalism becomes equally ubiquitous and universal. Digital capitalism, and related phenomena such as data, surveillance or platform capitalism, operate on the basis of a comprehensive expropriation and exploitation of personal data profiles. It functionalizes life worlds and places of education to an unprecedented extent.

This special issue is responding to the following questions: What position/s can media education in research and application take to respond to these developments? Which theories, concepts and methods help to formulate adequate analytical, critical and transformative answers?

Reshaping the Academic Self: Connecting Education & Open Science | Zenodo

Sicco de Knecht, Martijn van der Meer, Loek Brinkman, Manon Kluijtmans, & Frank Miedema. (2021). Reshaping the Academic Self: Connecting Education & Open Science (Version 2). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5345573

The transition towards Open Science will drastically alter our approach to academic life. It will change the ways in which we reward and recognise university employees and reshape the relationship between education and research. This should be reflected in how a new generation of academics and citizens are educated. Not only through the qualifications our students receive to become productive members of society, but also by dint of the values and attitudes we teach our pupils. The aim of university education should be preparing future graduates to share their (inter)disciplinary knowledge, engage with societal stakeholders, and shape tomorrow’s society. Now is the time to explore how.

This manifesto is a thought exercise that explores the (possible) relationships between Open Science and education. It attempts to point out the overlap, parallels, synergy, and possible conflicts between Open Science attitudes and practices, and contemporary views and practices in education. We aim to provoke a perspective on the different aspects of how Open Science relates to education and propose several concrete directions forward and possible corresponding interventions. After explaining why education from an Open Science perspective needs to be explored and strengthened, we differentiate four faces of open education: the Open Science mindset, Open Science skillset, open educational resources, and how these activities should be recognised and rewarded. We subsequently illuminate three possible paths on how to strengthen open education, ranging from content to form and system. We hope that this will spark a broader national and international conversation on the relationship between Open Science and education.

Open Education in Promotion, Tenure,& Faculty Development · Open Education in Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Development

“The Iowa Open Education Action Team (Iowa OER) has built upon DOERS3’s OER in Tenure & Promotion Matrix to help faculty and staff advocate for the inclusion of open educational practices (OEP) in the promotion, tenure, and faculty evaluation practices at their institutions….”