Presidential Grant from the Davis Educational Foundation strengthens partnership with the Open Education Network

October 14, 2020—Through a generous grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) is launching a one-year pilot of OpenBLC to support faculty adoption of open educational resources (OER) across the 19 member libraries.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Davis Educational Foundation for supporting the OpenBLC pilot,” said Anne Langley, BLC President and Dean of the UConn Library. “This new initiative will help develop faculty as champions of open pedagogy to promote adoption of OER across our members.”

This past summer, the BLC hosted a workshop entitled ‘Supporting OER on Your Campus in the COVID-19 Era,’ attended by more than 60 library and instructional staff who support faculty in adopting open texts across 15 BLC libraries.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the value of OER and highlights the inequitable access to learning materials for students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds,” said Charlie Barlow, BLC’s Executive Director. “With many physical library collections still inaccessible, there is renewed urgency for the adoption of and transition to open texts in remote, hybrid, and online learning environments – so we’re particularly energized to undertake this work together over the next twelve months.”

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the BLC’s OER Community of Interest will lead a core group of librarians and staff from the member libraries in designing a workshop series for faculty to increase their understanding and awareness of open textbooks. The Presidential Grant from the Davis Educational Foundation will fund $200 stipends for up to 50 faculty members who attend a workshop and review an open text in the Open Textbook Library, a collection of 800 freely available electronic textbooks supported by the Open Education Network (OEN).

"The Open Education Network is proud to partner with the Boston Library Consortium to build and sustain open education across its institutions,” said Sarah Cohen, OEN’s Senior Managing Director. “The BLC was among the OEN's earliest members. Their continued commitment to empowering faculty through the review process is one that we are certain will show results, in open textbook adoptions, student savings, and faculty practice."

Leveraging the OEN Data Dashboard, the OEN Community, and promising practices in open pedagogy, BLC staff will partner with the Co-Chairs of the OER Community of Interest to assess whether the provision of stipends increases adoption of open textbooks, generates savings for students, and catalyzes collaborative authorship of open content.

“We are delighted to build upon the collective work of the OER Community of Interest to pilot OpenBLC,” added the Co-Chairs, Margaret Manion, Librarian at UMass Lowell, and Apurva Mehta, Associate Chief Information Officer at UMass Boston.

The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.

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