Thanks for another great session, @june21-cohort! Here’s the chat transcript. I really appreciate all of your insightful questions this week. In response to @JessieC’s question about requiring the completion of an adoption form before being able to access the OER, I shared an example from Penn State’s OER repository, which requires this. I didn’t share that link in the chat, so I wanted to make sure you all have it in case you find it useful. As you all continue to work through these post-release questions (and any other questions, for that matter), just let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
OERs are living documents that tend to change and evolve over time — to better respond to the needs of you and others who are using it. As the resource takes on a slightly different shape, so will your role as creator. An adopted resource is one that has been assigned (in part or in full) as part of the materials for a given course. Adoptions can have significant value because they are one of the ways to measure the impact of your book. Adopters can also reach out to find more information about the broader impact of your book on withdrawal rates, student savings, degree completion, and more.
Given the digital first nature of OER, it’s not as easy to track when and how an OER is being used. Start by polling your team members to see who is using the book. As you broaden the net, encourage adopters to self-report via a simple adoption form. Be clear in the form too why you are collecting the data that you are, and what you intend to do with it — information collection should be transparent and consensual. Make sure you link to this form from your book homepage and all other communications during the book’s release. Adopters are part of the book’s growing community so connect them with one another and provide multiple lines of communication between the users of the book to share their feedback or coordinate on improvements.
Maintaining your resource and keeping it up-to-date will ensure its continued relevance and ongoing adoptions of your book, year after year. Anyone invested in the value of the resource has an incentive to contribute to maintaining and updating it — so be public about the work you’re doing on the book. This will let people know when to expect changes and how to offer their support. More significant changes should be made outside of academic sessions so as not to disrupt students. Keep a record of edits and updates in the book’s Version History.
There might be people who come across your work and decide to complete a new OER project incorporating or using your resource. Adaptations and spin-offs are a great way to see the contributions of your book to your discipline and to see content crafted to better suit others’ needs. It’s also an opportunity to generate additional value around the book and increase the community around it. It’s much easier to create a new resource based on one that exists. So if you’re creating a book, it’s important to make sure to set it up for easy adaptation: select an open license, provide an editable format, create modular content, and list information for adopters in the book’s back-matter.
The life after release is an exciting period to show the support that the community has towards the book and to see your hard work pay off. What starts out as just a project team in the scoping phase turns into what we think of as the ‘community of practice’ around your book, including adopters, adapters, readers, and more, all around the world. Behold the power of collaboration and open education!