The next stage of OER advocacy is aimed at understanding why you should target your advocacy efforts.
Targeting your advocacy efforts will help you achieve your goals and objectives. An analysis or audit of your educational institution can help you identify where the power and influence is in your institution. Once you've identified the importance of strategically focusing your advocacy efforts you can then look at developing an effective strategy.
To further understand your context, start by undertaking due diligence at your institution. It's important to learn all that you can about your institutional context. The adage 'knowledge is power' will serve you well. So, what does this mean in practice? By conducting an analysis or audit of the situation at your institution you should find answers to the following questions:
While we often talk about 'open' as synonymous with 'free', this is not always the case.
It's important to identify colleagues (locally and outside your institution) that can help you to sustain your OER advocacy efforts. Advocacy comes at a cost. It requires real academic labour and can be both isolating and tiring. The work will often be undertaken as an extracurricular activity initially as few institutions have mechanisms that recognise and reward such efforts. These colleagues are often referred to as early adopters or enablers and they align with why you advocate for OER. Their ears are open, they're listening and inquiring and they're ready to take action.
At the early stages of advocacy, you'll also need to spend a high percentage of your time fostering OER champions at your institution.
Fostering your OER champions, engaging in partnerships, working parties, coalitions and collectives across multiple areas helps to expand your message. It also highlights strength in numbers and diverse representation and helps build a solid foundation for cultural change. Be open and flexible when working with others, consider if you’re partnering with people who share interests in progressing OER, how you can keep them engaged and how you can establish clear terms and goals to help target your advocacy (Stoneham, et al., 2019).
Everyone’s group of champions and goals are different. Below are potential allies and/or influencers to start your list, but remember to think internally and externally:
Where can you find common ground?
In addition to people, think about the resources already available at your institution to support OER advocacy. Consider any initiatives currently in place to further your advocacy as well. Use the table below to chart a campus inventory or create your own to align more clearly with your institution. This information will help you define the OER landscape at your institution and identify gaps where you can align your advocacy goals.
'Campus Inventory Chart' in the CAUL OER Advocacy Toolkit by CAUL, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence, adapted from the Textbook Affordability Student Toolkit by Open Oregon Educational Resources, used under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
Stoneham, M., Vidler, A., & Edmunds, M. (2019). Advocacy in action: A toolkit for public health professionals (4th ed., pp.38–39). Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA. https://www.phaiwa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019_Advocacy-in-Action-A-Toolkit-for-Public-Health-Professionals-1.pdf