Unlocking Knowledge: Promoting Open Educational Resources

This lightning talk reflects on the library project of mapping Open Educational Resources (OER) and other open or freely accessible resources to a newly proposed degree at Southern Cross University (SCU). This is a story about how the speakers, two academic librarians, planned and delivered their advocacy for the use of OERs and other inclusive resources in support of two new courses in the field of Veterinary Medicine.

The success story of SCU psychology students potentially saving thousands of dollars by using OERs throughout the three-year Bachelor of Psychological Science degree motivated the speakers to become pro-active and create an OER advocacy plan for the Veterinary Medicine courses. While the focus of the talk is the journey, the speakers will also touch on the vital role OER and Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses have in enabling inclusive and equitable access to learning materials for all students. This aspect has become particularly relevant with SCU’s transition to the Southern Cross Model, an innovative approach to teaching, which delivers in immersive and interactive learning experiences in shorter six weeks.

The expectation of students to buy a commercially published textbook every six weeks is difficult to uphold and creates access and equity issues. This fact is supported by the SCU library’s collection development policy which clearly promotes Open Access content, including OERs, Open Textbooks and Open Journals as the preferred option for selection. The lightning talk will reflect on all of these factors and describe a journey of pro-active advocacy towards equitable and inclusive access to resources and knowledge.

Melissa Jurd

Education & Research Librarian, Southern Cross University

Author Bio

Melissa Jurd is a librarian supporting the Faculty of Science & Engineering and Faculty of Health at Southern Cross University (SCU). She has worked at a public library in Darwin, N.T and, medical and academic libraries on the Mid North Coast, NSW. She has a Bachelor of Arts (double degree) in Librarianship and Information Management from Curtin University and a Master of Information from Charles Sturt University, specialising in Leadership.

Melissa learned about Open Educational Resources only since working at Southern Cross University and, after realising the financial and equity benefits to students, has found and recommended hundreds of OERs to academics for various courses. The recent announcement of a new Veterinary Medicine course at Southern Cross University, created the opportunity for us to advocate and promote OERs to make this course as inclusive and equitable as possible from the outset.

Jenny Luethi

Education & Research Librarian, Southern Cross University

Author Bio

Jenny Luethi is a librarian at Southern Cross University (SCU). While she supports all library activities her main focus is the Faculty of Science & Engineering. Jenny migrated to Australia with a teaching background and has only entered the library world in recent years. As part of her Master of Information Studies degree with Charles Sturt University Jenny completed a placement at SCU where she was given some tasks related to sourcing OERs. The idea of inclusive and equitable access to learning resources fascinated Jenny.

Prior to taking up a librarian position at SCU, Jenny enthusiastically jumped at her ALIA mentor’s suggestion and created and OER Library Guide. Now, At SCU, Jenny has been able to feed that experience into the current SCU Open Resources Library Guide. Jenny has also been involved in mapping and tracking the use of OERs across Southern Cross University.