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Archive: 06/12/2018

UMass Amherst Libraries' Jeremy Smith Contributes to OER Book

Left: cover of book "OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians. Edited by Andrew Wesolek, Jonathan Lashley, Anne Langley. Right: headshot of Jeremy Smith.

Jeremy Smith, Digital Project Manager at the UMass Amherst Libraries, contributed to a recently published book titled OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians.

The book “is a perfect primer for anyone working with open educational resources (OER) on a university or college campus,” says Smith. “OER are teaching materials (textbooks, syllabi, readings, course outlines, slides, notes, videos, workbooks, lab manuals, etc.) that are released with an open, non-exclusive, copyright. The book contains an amazing amount of useful real-world examples from knowledgeable faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and advocates.”

Smith contributed to two chapters in the book. “Open Partnerships: Identifying and Recruiting Allies for Open Educational Resources Initiatives,” a chapter written by Smith and fellow collaborators Rebel Cummings-Sauls, Matt Ruen, and Sarah Beaubien, “addresses working with campus partners like students, administration, faculty, fellow librarians, instructional designers, etc. to develop a successful OER program.” Smith also wrote a solo chapter, “Seeking Alternatives to High-Cost Textbooks: Six Years of The Open Education Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,” in which he “discusses the history of the UMass Amherst Open Education Initiative, which began in 2011 and offers grants to faculty to adopt, adapt, or create OER.”

The book itself is open access, made available under a creative commons license for free download. Smith believes that this is an opportune moment in academia for such a guide to be published.

“As OER becomes increasingly popular on colleges campuses in the United States as well as the world, it is important for new practitioners to have a resource that gives them the tools to mount a successful OER effort on their campus,” he says. “The book can also be a resource for people on campus who wish to address issues around college affordability, student success and retention, and revolutionary pedagogical practices.”

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