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Open Educational Resources

Instructor Learning Community

Announcing the “Fostering Inclusive Classrooms with Open, Free & Affordable Course Materials” Instructor Learning Community

Note - the application period for 2022 has closed

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Working Group eagerly seeks applicants to join its second instructor learning community in Fall 2022. The facilitators will join participants from across disciplines in their efforts to make their courses as financially inclusive as possible by eliminating or substantially lowering course material costs. The emphasis of the community will be open educational resources (or OER), which are learning materials that carry open licenses and allow anyone to freely read, share, and modify them. These permissions also enable instructors to adapt them for greater cultural responsiveness and accessibility or even include students in building them. 

In the course of the learning community, participants will engage with the cohort to:

  • Understand the spectrum of affordable learning materials available openly or through campus / UT Libraries services, with an emphasis on OER

  • Search for OER that may be relevant to the courses you teach in one or more repositories; identify OER gaps in landscape for potential development

  • Evaluate course materials for basic accessibility best practices & cultural responsiveness; identify opportunities to enhance and customize these aspects of OER you find or develop

  • Identify & interpret open licenses associated with OER created by others and those you wish to apply to your own materials

Preview the full community syllabus draft for more details. 

If you’ve been interested in taking the first steps to transitioning your course to free or low-cost materials but need support to do it, please consider applying to join this instructor learning community. 

Community members who complete the following requirements will receive a letter of recognition from Dr. lorraine haricombe, Vice Provost and Director of UT Libraries:

  • Participation in at least five of six required discussion sessions

  • A sharing activity that may include openly licensing a learning object (such as a syllabus, lesson plan, module, or even your course map) or a proposed alternative

  • Completion of one of the following final projects, based on your personal goals:

    • A course map matching some of your course objectives to existing OER and other free and affordable material options

    • A project roadmap that charts your course for adapting or developing new OER

Please note that to maintain the level of interaction at which this group will most benefit, we will cap participants at 10 for Fall 2022. If interest exceeds that number, we look forward to offering more cohorts of this learning community in the future. 

More details on who may be interested and what to expect from the experience can be found below. Apply here by Friday, 9/16. Notifications to accepted applicants will be delivered no later than the week of 9/26.

If you can't join this round, we look forward to offering more cohorts of this learning community in the future. In the meantime, feel free to check out the materials and activities we developed in Canvas Commons or review the syllabus for a self-paced learning plan. 

FAQs for Applicants

Who should apply to join the cohort? 

If you have an interest in decreasing course material costs and/or adopting, adapting, or creating OER, this experience is for you. Instructors of any level, including graduate students, are welcome to apply to join the cohort. Because we will be working hands-on with your syllabus and course needs, you will benefit most if you have autonomy in selecting your course materials. We encourage applicants from all colleges and disciplines at UT Austin.  


When and where are the learning community meetings?

There will be two meetings held each week over six weeks -- one meeting is the required discussion session, and the second meeting is an optional office hours and coworking session. All sessions will be held on Zoom to best accommodate our community members’ schedules and needs.

Required discussion sessions will be held on Thursday mornings from 9:30am - 10:50am, October 13 - November 17 (all sessions listed below). The optional office hours and coworking sessions will be held on Tuesday mornings from 10:00am - 11:00am. 

Required discussion sessions: October 13, October 20, October 27, November 3, November 10, November 17 (all 9:30am - 10:50am)

Optional office hours and coworking sessions: October 18, October 25, November 1, November 8, November 15 (all 10:00am - 11:00am)


What will the structure of the meetings be? Will there be work in between meetings?

The discussion sessions each week will include a brief presentation from the facilitators or guest experts, but most of the 90 minute session will be dedicated to discussion and activities related to the topic of the presentation. Additionally, you will be asked to do some short reading, viewing, or other preparation in advance of each discussion session to make the most of your time. You will also make progress on a course map that helps you track options for open and free materials that address your course’s learning outcomes. The optional office hours and coworking sessions provide a space for you to do this alongside facilitators and members of your cohort. 


How do I apply to join the cohort? How will you determine who is accepted?

Please complete the short application to express interest by Friday, 9/16. 

If more than 10 instructor applications are received, the following factors will be considered in selecting the cohort:

  • Intent to adopt or create open, free, or more affordable course materials within the next calendar year

  • Number of students enrolled in courses taught by the instructor

  • Diversity of applicant disciplines and departments

  • Diversity of instructor levels and positions


I’m interested but can’t commit to attending the sessions. What other support and/or development opportunities are offered on this topic?

UT Libraries and the OER Working Group offer one-time workshops on similar topics. Additionally, other organizations and institutions host sessions and even full conferences that are open to the public. These opportunities will be shared on the OER events page. Professional development opportunities are also regularly shared through the monthly OER newsletter, which you can sign up for here

If you're interested in self-paced learning, check out the materials and activities we developed in Canvas Commons or review the syllabus for readings and viewings. 

Librarians are always happy to offer consultations on topics related to open, free, and affordable course materials. You can learn more about our open education services, submit a request for a free and affordable course materials review, or contact Heather Walter, for more information.  


I have questions not answered here.

Please contact Heather Walter, if you have any other questions.

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