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Open Educational Resources Advocacy Toolkit

Identifying OER Advocacy Opportunities

First, you'll need to identify opportunities at your institution for building awareness, support and enthusiasm for OER. Some opportunities will require more planning than others.

Planned Opportunities

Long-Term Plans

These opportunities will require some long-term planning to set up but can deliver a high impact:

  • Significant events in the calendar – Identify events that take place during the year at your institution related to OER. Many institutions hold teaching and learning weeks and seminars. Contact the organisers or submit an application to be involved and showcase OER at these events. Open Education and Open Access Weeks offer further opportunities to celebrate OER.
  • Webpage on OER – Create a webpage or guide that explains the benefits of OER, reports on your OER activities and provides directions to users on where they can learn more and how to get involved. Showing examples of OER implementation and sharing outcomes may encourage others to try it.
  • Event – Organise an event at your institution to showcase OER initiatives and build new relationships. Bring OER champions, adopters, potential adopters and students together to discuss the benefits and challenges. The event could involve key presenters, a panel discussion or the launch of a new initiative.
  • Grant program – Establish a grant program for staff to adopt or create OER for their courses. You can set the eligibility criteria to match the aims of your OER program. Criteria could include textbook cost savings, number of students in the course, strategic areas, need for local context in resources, etc.
  • Award and recognition program – Create an award program to recognise individual contributions to the adoption of OER. Criteria for selecting award winners could include:
    • developing new resources
    • creative interactive elements
    • textbook cost savings for students
    • collaboration endeavours.
  • Build a community of practice (CoP) – Gather together those who share an interest in OER to share best practice and set goals together.

Short-Term Plans

These opportunities will need some short-term planning to arrange the sessions and activities:

  • Presentations – Organise sessions for different stakeholder groups at your institution. Target the content of your presentation to the specific interests or concerns of the group. Faculty and school teams, committees and planning groups and communities of practice offer opportunities to communicate about OER.
  • Workshops – Plan workshops that improve OER knowledge and develop skills for adopting OER. Topics could include:
    • understanding CC licensing
    • finding OER for your courses
    • tools and techniques to create or adapt OER
    • collaboration endeavours.
  • Peer sharing – Build awareness within your own area by presenting about OER in department meetings and discussions.
  • Student leaders and societies meetings – Discussing OER innovations or concerns about resources or textbooks with student groups can help build awareness at your institution about the potential benefits of OER. Students can help to advocate for change and spread the message.
  • Student-staff partnerships – Organise for students to work with your team to learn more about the student experience with resources and textbooks. Students’ insights can help you tailor your message and plan strategies.
  • Social media campaigns – Share your OER message on blogs and other social media used at your institution. You can plan posts about OER activities and share good outcomes.
  • Newsletters and emails – Identify faculty, school, department and group newsletters and email distribution lists at your institution. Plan short posts that you can contribute to the newsletters or mailing list that celebrate OER and build awareness.

Unplanned Windows of Opportunity

Prepare some talking points in case any spontaneous opportunities arise in the course of your day to advocate for OER. At work events, before or after meetings or in the elevator you may have an opportunity to quickly talk about the value of OER.

  • Informal sharing – Talking about OER activities you're involved in whenever the opportunity arises can help spread the word to others.
  • Peer sharing – Build awareness within your own work area by presenting about OER in department meetings and discussions.
  • Coffee catch-ups – If you have a chance to meet for quick catch-ups with staff you can ask them about their thoughts on OER and explain benefits for their courses.
  • Emails and chat queries – If staff or students have issues with textbooks or topics related to OER take the opportunity to bring up the benefits of OER.
  • Social media – Look out for topics related to OER where you can build on the message by posting about ways OER could help or improve a situation.

Lumen Learning's OER Champion Playbook provides more ideas to build on these strategies. 

Micro Activities for Quick Wins

Micro activities can be implemented quickly to garner small wins. You can use them to spread the message about OER at your institution or to gather feedback you can use to further your OER agenda.

Micro Activities for Quick OER Advocacy Wins - display posters with key OER messages, set up a whiteboard for students to share their experiences with OER and open textbooks, design a social media frame with your OER message for others to post, share a survey for gathering feedback on OER, record student testimonials about OER in a video booth, blog about OER benefits and initiatives, hold drop-in OER sessions.

'Micro Activities for Quick OER Advocacy Wins' in the CAUL OER Advocacy Toolkit by CAUL, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Some examples of micro activities for OER advocacy include:

  • Infographics and posters – Display infographics on digital screens or print posters that give a quick message about OER. You can design a few different messages to use at different intervals.
  • Whiteboard messages – Set up a whiteboard on campus for students and staff to share their thoughts on OER and textbooks in courses. Don’t forget to capture the results.
  • Survey – Add QR codes to posters and digital screens linking to a feedback form asking questions about OER. This provides an opportunity for others to share their experiences and for you to gather data on the topic.
  • Social media frame – Design a social media frame with your OER message and hashtag. Set it up on campus on key days and encourage students and staff to share the message on their social media.
  • Video booth – Ask students to record short testimonials about their experiences in courses when using OER and open textbooks. Offer gift cards or other incentives to encourage students to participate.
  • Drop-in sessions – Arrange times for staff and students to ask questions about OER and share their experiences.
  • Blog – Post a short blog about an OER being used at your institution or about a great new OER you've discovered.