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Digital Pedagogy - A Guide for Librarians, Faculty, and Students

This guide is meant to inform the user about Digital Pedagogy. It includes information on educational theory, a collection of case studies, and resources relevant to the study of digital pedagogy.

Libraries and Open Education

Role of Libraries and Librarians/Pedagogy


The ALA White Paper and Environmental Scan on OERs, MOOCs, and Libraries, discusses Libraries and Open Education extensively. The authors refer to a report published in 2010 by Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability, and Standards regarding libraries’ involvement in activities related to OER, what these activities were, and how important they were to the overall projects. The report, based on a survey, is called The Role of Libraries and Information Professional in OER Initiatives. This survey revealed that the library plays a leading role in the production of OER, with description, classification, management, preservation, dissemination, and promotion, intellectual property and copyright. Additionally:


  • Expertise of librarians is needed for OER initiatives

  • Library involvement in OER projects would greatly benefit them

  • The study’s authors conclude that librarians have a host of skills and technologies needed by OER projects, if collaborate with, would be able to assist in solving some of its pressing problems

How can Librarians and Libraries Lead OER

How libraries can support OER

In the article "Open Educational Resources and the higher education environment – A leadership opportunity for libraries," Jensen and West refers to a study done by Washington State Board for community and Technical colleges that survey faculty members at 34 technical and community colleges. This survey found that faculty adopted OER due to:

  • Cost

  • ability to adopt materials

  • greater possibilities in collaboration

  • diversity in resources

  • convenience

  • reflection on teaching

Additionally, the survey explored what factors were needed so that OERs were successfully adopted. The key indicator was institutional support in their adoption efforts. The areas of support needed include:

  • Leadership in policy

  • help in finding quality materials

  • professional development around copyright, open licensing, and integrated course design

West argues that this is a role that librarians can fill. Some examples of librarians taking the lead in this area Washington include the following the delivery of college wide workshops and consultation to assist faculty in identifying OER in their discipline. The survey indicated that many faculty viewed them as potential OER leaders on campus.

The author argues that there is a need for institutional level leadership in the adoption of OER as a strategy for improving access to student achievement. She argues that in order to become and OER leaders, librarians must be familiar with the resources and organizations available to help grow knowledge and experience. They must also be familiar with advocacy resources, such as the SPARC OER Initiative, the Review Project, and the  Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. These resources offer a lot of additional information and hold regular webinars.

Case Study: University of Minnesota Library

In the aforementioned article, Kristi Jensen writes about the Babson survey, which indicated that only 20% of faculty are aware of OER. She argues that this is bad news for OER advocates because there is a huge window for traditional publishers to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt into faculty members regarding OER.

Jensen presents that fact that libraries have been educating about open access, and have been helping faculty to locate materials for years. They can develop ability to effectively find, and help faculty members search for quality OER that fits curriculum, as this fits well with our area of expertise.

Case Study: The University of Minnesota

Jensen uses the University of Minnesota to illustrate how academic libraries are already getting involved in OER efforts on campus. The University of Minnesota library:

  • Works with digital course packs that include OER

  • Has found new opportunities to advocate for OER through coordinated service model on campus to support highly collaborative work with campus partners, to streamline support for teaching and learning on campus

  • Has developed partnerships with open textbook library and open textbook network

  • Has helped to develop a faculty incentive program, the Partnership for Affordable Content, in order to explore alternative course materials, in order to enhance teaching and learning and save students money

Overall, Jensen states that libraries are poised to act as key players supporting the adoption of OER because:

  • Librarians understand issues related to open

  • have the vision to see the needs and opportunities related to OER at the institutions they work at

For more information on the Babson survey and it's consequences, please see David Wiley's "The Babson OER survey and the Future of OER adoption."

Case Study: OER and the Institutional Repository - California State University San Marcos

In “OER: The New Paradigm in Academic Libraries,” Mitchell and Chu argue that because  textbook costs are so high:

  • it is important for libraries to provide supplemental educational materials

  • Librarians have a unique role as translators and mediators between the creators of OER materials, and the content users

  • Librarians are positioned to help faculty to explore alternative educational materials

The article describes a strategy by California State University San Marco library to collect campus created content and make it available through the institutional repository. Prior to its implementation, a survey was sent to all faculty members to determine existing faculty awareness of library services and to assess the willingness of the community to support free online scholarly materials. The survey:

  • indicates a strong interest by faculty members for free or reduced cost of educational material

  • high level of concern about the topic

  • faculty member do look for alternatives, and they would like the library’s assistance

  • vast majority of faculty members indicate that the cost of textbooks and other educational materials is important to their course planning

  • 94% express concern about the cost of educational materials.

The authors point out that the 2013 NMC Horizon report indicates that:

  • Open resources are a major trend to look for in the academe

  • Authoritative sources are losing their

  • There is a need for curation for digital resources

They conclude by stating that  trends in academia often work well on macro level, however, the survey indicates that faculty members are actually ready for increased usage of OER as well. In UCM case, supported the creation of a repository to house campus created resources.