AMHERST, Mass.—UMass Amherst, in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, Worcester State College, and Holyoke Community College, was recently awarded a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund (PIF) program. The project, “Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All,” focuses on building capacity for open educational resources (OER) across the state.
OER are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessment, and research. Besides addressing student concerns over increasingly high textbook costs, OER allow faculty to adopt innovative pedagogical practices, such as designing learning materials tailored to their classes or involving students in the creative process.
“OER awareness has been steadily increasing throughout academia and the textbook industry,” said Marilyn Billings, Head of the UMass Amherst Libraries Scholarly Communication Department and principal investigator of the grant. “This grant gives us an opportunity to expand that awareness by increasing OER adoption, adaption, and creation throughout Massachusetts state schools.”
In addition, the project will seek applications from community college, state university, and UMass instructors to join a team developing OER course materials for a General Education (Gen Ed) Foundation course that is part of the Mass Transfer Block. This collaboration offers direct benefits to faculty and students at the 28 public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.
Interested faculty may register here for workshops for Massachusetts Open Education Regional Training, held on the following dates:
- Feb. 1: Northern Essex Community College
- Feb. 8: University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Mar. 12: Bridgewater State University
- Mar. 14: Worcester State University
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education website.
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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Call for submissions! Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award
Deadline: February 22, 2019
All currently enrolled undergraduate UMass Amherst students, part or full-time, are eligible. Submit your project here.
Papers, theses, design and multimedia projects, and art that present research of a sustainability topic (environmental, social, and/or economic) will be accepted. The first prize recipient will receive a $1,500 scholarship, and two second place winners will receive $750 scholarships. Winners will be honored at a spring sustainability event in the UMass Amherst Libraries.
Applicants must be nominated by a UMass Amherst faculty member. Projects created from spring 2018 through fall 2018 may be submitted for review.
The award promotes an in-depth understanding of sustainability topics, research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors. The award is funded by the UMass Amherst Libraries national award-winning Sustainability Fund.
Winners of previous awards are accessible in the Sustainability Student Showcase on ScholarWorks, the University's digital repository.
For more information, contact Madeleine Charney, Research Services Librarian, 413-577-0784,firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE stop for questions. Go ahead - Ask Us!
You spoke; we listened! Based on your feedback, in partnership with Information Technology, we're refreshing part of the Learning Commons in the Du Bois Library:
- ONE service desk for all your borrowing, research, and tech needs
- ONE easily visible and accessible space for printers
- NEW spaces for PCs
- NEW work surfaces with a splash of color
Check out the new and improved Learning Commons this fall!
The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to welcome the next group of Du Bois Fellows to campus.
Through a generous grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries, in collaboration with the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), is able to offer these post-doc fellowships to assist scholars in conducting research in the archives and collections of the Libraries.
Among the approximately 15,000 linear feet of manuscripts held by SCUA are many valuable collections for the study of social change in the United States, including the papers of the most important exponent of the politics and culture of the twentieth century, W. E. B. Du Bois. Since the arrival of the Du Bois Papers at UMass Amherst in 1973, SCUA has become the steward for a number of collections in which Du Bois is a central figure, including those of his associates James Aronson (acquired 1990), Katherine Bell Banks (2004), Lillian Hyman Katzman (2010), and Catherine A. Latimer (2015), as well as the papers of scholars who studied Du Bois, including William Strickland (2014) and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Levering Lewis (2014). Additionally, there are several collections in which Du Bois appears as a direct influence, including the papers of the educator Horace Mann Bond (1979) and the records of the African America Institute, an organization that for over 60 years has promoted educational and economic ties between African nations and the United States. Of these, Du Bois, Aronson, Banks, Katzman, and Bond are all fully digitized and available online free of charge.
Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center, hopes that these scholars will 'build collaborative moments' together, discussing their work and learning from each other as they delve into the collections for their respective projects.
PHOTOGRAPH: Left to Right:
Front: Richard D. Benson II; Camesha Scruggs; Juliana Goes; Lisa McLeod; Josh Myers; Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste
Back: Phillip Luke Sinitiere; Benjamin Nolan; Marc Lorenc; Thomas Meagher
The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce that Simon Neame, Dean of Libraries, has been elected President of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC).
Founded in 1970, the BLC is a community of academic and research libraries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire that fosters interlibrary collaboration, innovation, and sharing of resources.
"I'm honored to be elected President of the BLC for a one-year term," said Neame. The BLC provides access for our faculty and students to the rich collections of research libraries across New England, as well as opportunities for UMass Amherst Libraries' staff to participate in a diverse range of professional development programs.
Food science doctoral student, Amadeus Driando Ahnan, used the DML's 3D printing service to help him win first place in an international biotech start-up competition. Check out the article with the included video of his winning pitch.
Students Asked - We Listened
The campus's first-ever Graduate Commons, located on Floor 5 of the Du Bois Library, is a result of input gathered through surveys and focus groups assessing the needs of graduate students. The space is filled with workstations, conference rooms, and secure storage for scholarly materials.
Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, was recently appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for Mass Humanities. She was sworn in on March 26.
Dr. Battle-Baptiste is a historical archaeologist who focuses on the intersectional relationship of race, class, gender and the shaping of cultural landscapes across the African Diaspora. She is a scholar and activist who views the classroom and the university as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. Her book, Black Feminist Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2011), outlines the basic tenets of Black feminist thought and research for archaeologists and shows how it can be used to improve contemporary historical archaeology as a whole.
She first came in contact with Mass Humanities through their annual public readings of Frederick Douglass' famous Fourth of July address, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" These readings take place annually across the commonwealth, with the flagship event occurring in Boston. Battle-Baptiste has participated in this program as the discussion facilitator in both Springfield and Amherst.
The mission of Mass Humanities is to conduct and support programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy, now simply known as Mass Humanities, was established in 1974 as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and is an independent programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources.
"I strongly believe in the work that is done by Mass Humanities and I am humbled and excited to serve the commonwealth of Massachusetts in this capacity," says Battle-Baptiste.