Memorandum of Understanding
The Textbook Success Program (TSP) is a professional development program that equips faculty, librarians, administrators, and managers with the tools they need to make great OER (i.e. textbooks and other formats). The program is one year long and comprises two phases:
- Phase 1: Planning Phase (12 weeks): Every week you will familiarise yourself with a different aspect of open publishing and thereby get a complete overview of the open publishing process. In the first 3 months, you will mostly be setting your project up for the practical work throughout the rest of the year.
- Phase 2: Practical Application (9 months): This is the actual hands-on stage where you and your team work on your OER projects, with monthly meetings involving a mix of group check-ins with your cohort and 1:1 support sessions between project teams and the assigned TSP facilitator.
Program Mindset and Approach
The TSP is designed to help examine and unlearn individual, institutional, and societal maladaptive assumptions and conventions that block designing learning for human diversity, variability, and equity and global complexity. Our hope is that your engagement in the Textbook Success Program will allow you to transform first as individuals, and secondly as educators in ways unique to your professional contexts.
Rebus strives to build a learning community in the program where both participants and facilitators learn actively from each other as they draw on their own knowledge sources and critically reflect on individual, institutional, and societal practices in higher education to facilitate positive change. To move forward we will have to ask ourselves how we practice now and why. Some of this will be uncomfortable but this is critical and necessary work to make learning truly inclusive, which is what we believe you are all here to do with your OER projects and in your roles in the higher education system. Please navigate through the program (materials, structure, conversations), with an openness and willingness for something new!
To streamline our cohort communication and allow for utmost transparency, we request that everybody use the forum to ask questions, share ideas or resources, and update the facilitator and teams in the group on any changes.
Note that your TSP Facilitator and Rebus Community staff will not answer questions sent over email (unless urgent with regards to your personal safety). Instead, we will kindly remind you to post your inquiry to the forum instead.
Please always tag the people you wish to receive a response from, i.e. your cohort tag (= @oct22-a-cohort), if the message is meant for the entire group, or individual usernames, if you have someone specific in mind.
In the forum, you can expect a timely response from your TSP facilitator or Rebus Community staff during working hours from Monday to Friday.
Role of the Facilitator
The facilitator of the program’s role is to support participants’ open publishing journey, so they can carve their own pathways using Rebus’ flexible model and tools. They will:
- guide TSP participants through Rebus’ collaborative open publishing process in a welcoming, caring and supportive learning environment,
- be responsible for organising and running each session or check-in,
- model expected behaviour during sessions and check-ins and in the discussion space,
- build an inclusive and inspiring OER community with Rebus cohort participants and external OER enthusiasts,
- draw on the expertise within the cohort and community and make appropriate connections between projects and community members who may be able to provide better responses,
- foster reflection and change in participants to enable the creation of accessible, equitable, and inclusive OER and learning experiences,
- support the TSP participants in the creation of efficient workflows and the application of best practices to ensure smooth project progress in due time,
- model and reassure TSP participants in their use of open approaches and tools,
- encourage TSP participants to build and strengthen institutional capacity for current and future open publishing projects,
- support TSP participants in recognising and growing their open education leadership skills,
- manage the asynchronous cohort discussion space and troubleshoot problems with Rebus Community tools, and
- enforce the expectations, guidelines, and if necessary, consequences to violations as outlined in this MOU.
Role of the Participants
The goal of the program is to help participants learn about open publishing and directly apply this knowledge to their project. Fulfilling the following responsibilities to their best abilities, will enable participants to get the most out of the program.
Contribute to the building and maintaining of a collaborative and supportive cohort community by:
- attending each session and check-in (some absences excused, as things may crop up both in work and life),
- participating in in-session discussions and activities to ground their greater OER work in solid planning and sound reflection,
- sharing of useful examples, resources, and ideas,
- completing suggested homework activities to be able to build project plan out for completion within the anticipated timeline,
- creating and frequently updating the Rebus Community project forum pages to demonstrate project progress,
- actively using the cohort forum space to communicate with their team, other cohort members, the facilitator and Rebus staff,
- responding to forum posts when able to answer questions or wanting to support everybody in useful ways,
actively engaging with team and cohort members to share expertise and contribute to the greater efforts of bringing positive change into educational systems,
establishing personal goals for growth and take appropriate action to work towards reaching those goals.
communicating program-related feedback in compassionate and honest ways.
Role of the Rebus Support Staff
The Rebus staff values unique contributions to the open education world. We hope to provide you with a program that will help make learning in the TSP inclusive with connection, access, and meaning-making at its core. To make the TSP a rewarding and productive experience for both the participants and the facilitators, Rebus support staff will:
- design and maintain a caring and enriching learning environment, where everybody feels welcome and inspired to participate to their fullest potential,
- create and maintain channels to encourage consistent and transparent communication between grant organisers, facilitators, and cohorts,
- provide in-time support to facilitators and cohorts regarding program-related troubleshooting,
- be available to communicate openly with the cohort facilitator and participants in the designated asynchronous discussion space,
- attend first three Phase 1 live sessions to get to know participants and better understand their projects,
- invite and adequately respond to feedback from participants and the facilitators to consistently improve the program experience,
- frequently meet with facilitators to check in on cohort progress and identify areas for customisation regarding TSP content, structure, facilitation, etc.,
- schedule meetings with grant organisers as needed for to catch each other up on new developments and discuss relevant changes in programming,
- be available to discuss confidential matters with cohort participants via email or in scheduled video conferences if requested.
The sessions and cohort discussion spaces are for everyone in the group. Please read and follow these community guidelines:
- Be nice: “Nice” includes supporting your fellow creators, amplifying your peers’ voices, and assuming value in others’ opinions. “Not nice” includes personal attacks, abusive or offensive language, including profanity or sexually exploitative language insults, threats, and other things that would be considered “not nice.” Don’t use racist, ableist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory language. Be yourself and ensure you help everyone feel welcome with your language and approach.
- Assume value: We are all working together to build a global community around OER publishing. Be sensitive to different methods, different approaches, different cultures. We share an enthusiasm for OER and want everyone to feel comfortable contributing.
- Be on topic: Post things in the right place, look to see if your question has been asked elsewhere, and contact a facilitator if you’re not sure where to post. Keep conversations focused on OER and related themes.
- Silence is golden: During sessions, we should leave some time between people speaking to allow the more introverted among us to jump in with any thoughts. There’s nothing to be uncomfortable about if no one is talking, so don’t feel pressured to fill in the silence.
- Be mindful: The facilitator will monitor discussions both online and during sessions so everyone can speak their fair share. But we are all encouraged to politely ask people to step back so others can join in. Consciously leave room for others to chime in, or for the facilitator to ask for a pause so the discussion can be opened more broadly.
- Don’t spam: You can promote your OER projects, but don’t overwhelm or take advantage of the shared space. Keep discussion and links focused on OER and related themes.
- Flag, don’t feed inflammatory posts: Don’t reply to posts that you feel violate the “be nice” policy. Replying usually makes things worse. Flag them for the facilitator.
Contact your facilitator, Stacy Katz (@stacy.katz), by direct message to report a violation of these guidelines.
Violating these guidelines might mean a warning, a temporary ban, or a permanent ban at the discretion of the facilitators.
Agreement to MOU
Each participant (including the facilitator) in the October 2022 A (CUNY/ M)L Cohort is required to reply to this topic and indicate their agreement to follow the expectations and guidelines outlined above.
Please reply to this topic with the following text:
I confirm that I have read the expectations and community guidelines in full, and agree to participate in the program in accordance with them.
Feedback, Comments, or Suggestions
Something missing? Have more suggestions? Everyone’s voice and input matters. Please indicate what you’d like to add, or modify by replying to this topic.