Meet your Library Staff: OER
Learn about the work our Open Educational Resources Librarian, Jessica Norman does for SAIT students and faculty.
- Can you tell us a bit about what your team does in the Library?
I am a team of one in the library, focusing on promoting, developing, and managing OER for student use. OER stands for Open Educational Resources, which are teaching and learning materials that are created with the intention of being freely available to users anywhere. They can be many different types of formats (print, pictures & diagrams, audio files, video files, simulations, code) and are covered by open licenses that allow sharing, re-mixing, and modifying the content. You can learn more about OER at the Reg Erhardt Library OER guide.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of this type of library work?
It’s an exciting time to work in OER as so many provincial, national, and international organizations are developing new materials. Every day, I find out about new projects that can benefit SAIT students and faculty. It’s very rewarding to see their eyes light up when I share new, accessible, relevant, and FREE resources with them.
- What is the most challenging aspect of this type of library work?
OER is a new field that is rapidly changing. Therefore, students, faculty, and administrators often have mis-conceptions around OER, its use, and its value. I encourage anyone who would like to know more about the OER work at SAIT to check out the Reg Erhardt Library OER guide or contact me!
- What is a recent project your team has worked on?
SAIT is currently a partner in the Open Education Alberta publishing consortia managed by University of Alberta. This partnership allows SAIT to use Pressbooks, an ebook publishing platform for open licensed books. In the last year, I have managed Pressbooks projects that produced two new SAIT OER textbooks: Introduction to Psychology and A Brief Introduction to Philosophy. I hope to work with faculty across SAIT to complete several more OER in 2022.
- What challenges did you have to overcome because of COVID-19? Can you give specific examples of how your team responded to the pandemic?
Honestly, my work was not hugely impacted by changes instituted due to COVID-19. My portfolio is digital and web-based, and I had previously worked with collaborators remotely as they were located in many locales. I also found my work with provincial and national organizations actually became more useful, as I could attend more events online. COVID did delay the publication date of some OER titles, as the authors had more important short-term priorities. But in the long-run, COVID did not cause a large disruption in our program.
- Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your team?