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The Center for Online Teaching Excellence

What I know about OER Theory and Methods Rhianna Rogers I am trained as both an anthropologicalarchaeologist and historian, specializing in Mesoamerica and native cultures of the United States. I received a certificate in Ethnic Studies, a B.A. in Social Sciences (Anthropology Major and History Minor), an M.A. in History, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies (Anthropology Major and History Minor) from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. I am a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA) with over eight years of field and museum experience. I have worked in both academic and public archaeology as well as in historic preservation and museum studies. My interests have taken me to various geographic locations to conduct research, including the South and Northeastern United States, Mexico, Ecuador, and Spain. I currently a member of the MA in Liberal Studies Core Faculty and a tenure track faculty member/mentor at SUNY ESC-Niagara Frontier Center where I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Social Sciences. Additionally, I was the founding Faculty Adviser for the NFC Student ClubCARES (College Achievement Requires Engaged Students).

“It is my hope that each person reviewing and/or hearing this presentation will recognize the usefulness of said resources and create new ways to increase their viability in our progressively digitized college environment.

I would like to share what I know about OER Theory and Methods I would like to share some innovative strategies for the creation, use, and implementation of Open Educational Resources (OERS) in college course assignments. In Part I of this presentation, we will be reviewing a few examples for how to use educational theory and methods can be used to help you create, use, develop, and reuse OERs.

What is it My hope is to contribute to the ongoing discussion of OER use and development by providing a few examples for how to 1) use and reuse existing OERs in a intellectually responsible and ethical way, 2) effectively implement and apply them into current teaching models and course assignments, 3) develop quality OERs that reflect tangible course objectives and assignment outcomes, 4) share and disseminate them to a variety of interested constituencies, and 5) how to assess their effectiveness, viability, and sustainability in course assignments over time.

How it works The term OER has many definitions. OER was originally “adopted at a UNESCO meeting in 2002 [,co-sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation, and] refer to the open provision of educational resources, enabled by information and communication technologies, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes” (D’Antoni, 2008). I defined OERS “as education tools that have quality academic and/or professional content, which may be located online or off line, are free or fee-based, and are usable and reusable. They can be shared, come in many different languages, and should be widely accessible by broad audiences” (Rogers, 2014)

What I did Over the past 3 or 4 years, I have found that understanding the reason(s) behind the creation of an OER is the most important component when attempting to use, development, or implement an OER into a course/assignment. As I stated in my article on OERs, “[e]ach OER has an author and a reason for its creation. If you are creating the OER yourself, you can develop it to meet your specific needs. However, if the OER is not your own, you need to make sure you understand the original author’s intent and what its original purpose was so that you can use and/or modify it to meet your course/assignment needs and objectives. Avoid implementing an OER without vetting it first!” (Rogers, 2014)

How I did it I have a number of examples published, but I regularly discuss this example in presentations. As I stated in my article on OERs, “In Spring of 2013 as part of the IIT Grant on Virtual Term Abroad grant, submitted by SUNY Empire State College (ESC) Professors Lorette Calix and Patrice Torcivia, ESC International Studies Prof. John DeLuca and I created an immigration assignment based on a OER blog assignment developed by Drs. Irina Gendelman and Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis of St. Martin’s University. Once developed,

The Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence

July 31, 2014 • Volume 1 • Issue 4

COTE NOTE Staff The COTE Community Team: Alexandra M. Pickett, Associate Director, Open SUNY; Martie Dixon, Assistant Academic Dean, Distance Learning & Alternate Programs, Erie Community College; Patricia Aceves, Director of the Faculty Center in Teaching, Learning & Technology, Stony Brook University; Lisa Dubuc, Coordinator of Electronic Learning, Niagara County Community College; Christine Kroll, Assistant Dean for Online Education, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo; Deborah Spiro, Assistant Vice President for Distance Education, Nassau Community College; Erin Maney, Senior Instructional Designer, Open SUNY; Lisa Raposo, Assistant Director, SUNY Center for Professional Development This publication is produced by the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence under the SUNY Office of the Provost.

Contact/Questions State University Plaza Albany, New York 12246

How to Submit Material This publication is produced in conjunction with the COTE “Fellow Chat” speaker series. Please submit a proposal at for consideration. Visit for more information. To join COTE, visit

students from my US based online course First Peoples of North America and John DeLuca’s Panama and Dominican Republic based online course American Immigration: A Love/Hate Relationship were asked to use this OER in their course and evaluate its effectiveness (For Full Assignment, See Rogers, DeLuca, Calix, and Torcivia 2013). The tentative feedbac k received indicates that it was a successful venture for both students and faculty alike (a full report of this Calix and Torcivia’s project is still pending). Based on the success of this OER in this course, I was able to reuse the information collected on this blog in a number of my other courses, including in an independent study with one my a graduate students, in an online Digital Anthropology course, and in a traditional classroom discussion (For full assignments, See Rogers, 2013 & Brust & Rogers, 2013). As this example illustrates, when you understand the purpose and tailor the OER to your own needs, you increase your chances of reusing it in different settings; thus, decreasing assignment development workload issues rather than increasing them.” (Rogers, 2014)

Why I did it As I stated in my article on OERs, “[s]ome of the most common questions I get from colleagues is “Are OERs just another fad in academia?” and “Are they really helpful?” and “Will OERs prevent me from teaching with my own expertise?” I would argue no to all three. Although the term OER is new, scholars have been using and sharing educational resources for a long time. As academics, we have been trained to vet information, based on our particular school of thought, academic training, and educational philosophies while, at the same time, presenting said information to a potentially less-informed audience (i.e. students). Keeping this frame in mind, OERs are then no different that vetting a printed text or resource. We tend to forget that our indoctrination into higher education required us to adopt, assimilate, reuse, and modify scholarship and our own course readings from our college experiences and adapt them to our personal teaching tool kits (e.g. the reuse of worksheets, lectures, videos, documentaries, movies from previous classes into other course offerings). I can remember a number of instances where professors of mine in graduate school gave me sample assignments, presentations, teaching strategies, and PowerPoints to use, reuse, modify, and adopt in my courses. In my view, the digital age and modern technology have just expanded on this trend by providing us with us with access to globalized digitized and non-digital resources, (e.g. library digital and non-digital collections, academic repositories, YouTube and Vimeo videos, and free and fee-based academic software). Thus, I would argue, as others in the OER movement already have, that most of us are already engaged in the OER movement.” (Rogers, 2014)

What happened when I did it Students have noted in my course evaluations, both formally and informally, that they truly enjoyed the use of OERs and how I have used them to enhance their learning experiences. Since the vast majority of my classes are moving toward online and/or blended, finding a variety of ways to mix OERs in with my own communications has, as students have told me, have provided them with a variety of scholarship and perspectives to learn from, thus fostering an environment that validated diversity, including their own diverse perspectives and life experiences. As these students stated: “Over all this class was great! The book gave great detail, but the videos that Prof. Rogers incorporated were very good and educational to the subject.” “The best aspect of this learning experience was Dr Rogers! Dr Rogers is one of the most amazing educators that I have ever come across. She inspires her students through hands on in class activities, power points, reading and life experiences. Her classes where

The Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence

July 31, 2014 • Volume 1 • Issue 4

COTE NOTE challenging to me but in the end I learned so much.” “Professor Rogers was delightful. She was inspirational and tireless. Without a doubt, I loved this course and her presentation. I would love to take another course with her in the future. I learned so much in this class, things I never had given any thought to before. The in class and online discussions were informative and thought provoking.”

What I learned Based on the success I have had with OERs, I fully believe that they can enhance the college learning experience. I believe that the sharing of such information builds on the underlying principles of the OER movement. Sharing enhances existing OER communities and is one way to development a more concrete educational paradigm for this research area. Developing and maintaining OER communities is essential to the success and development of quality OERs.

How others can use it Below, I provide a summation of the PIE model that I typically use when developing OERs, originally developed by Newby, T.J., Lehman, J.D., & Russel, J.D., 2000.

STEP 2: IMPLEMENT: Create an action plan so learners will understand when, where, what and how they will learn and what the objectives of the lesson plan are so they can anticipate what they will learn. STEP 3: EVALUATE: During and after the learning activity, evaluate how students performed and assess how effective the OER was in meeting your predetermined learning goals and objectives. This will allow for future improvements and/or enhancements in later courses.” (Rogers, 2014)

References D’Antoni, S. (2008). Open educational resources: The way forward. Antoni_OERTheWayForward_2008_eng.pdf Rogers, R. (2012). Using Open Resources to Your Advantage: How to EffectivelyIncorporateOERsintoCollegeAssignments.AllAboutMentoring, Issue 44: Winter 2013-24, a SUNY Empire State College Publication. to_Your_Advantage_How_to_Effectively_Incorporate_OERs_into_ College_Assignments

As I stated in my article on OERs, STEP 1: PLAN Create an outline and/or lesson plan that incorporates the learner’s knowledge, from basic to advanced.

This publication is disseminated under the creative commons license AttributionNoncommercial-Share Alike 3.0

The Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence

July 31, 2014 • Volume 1 • Issue 4

Open SUNY COTE NOTE: OER Theory and Methods  

“COTE NOTE” is a companion resource for the monthly speaker series "Fellow Chat" of the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COT...

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