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Thursday, November 12 • 12:00pm - 12:25pm
Reconceptualizing Sustainability in Open Education: The Experience of Virginia’s Academic Libraries

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Most often when we talk about sustainability in higher education, we talk about cost containment or leveraging of human resources. And for many OER programs, student costs are where we may start – as a way for OER advocates to quickly engage administrators that may have a keener eye on student savings than on the complexities of open pedagogies. This cannot be where we end if we want our programs to be sustainable long-term. This presentation focuses on sustainability beyond costs and human resources; it examines the critical work of creating momentum and sustainable open programs through community value alignment. With librarians, teachers, and students stretched thinner than ever before while grappling with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing racial justice movement, this type of sustainability is critical to maintaining a vibrant open education program.

This presentation will detail the strategies used for creating and maintaining a multi-faceted statewide library consortium open education initiative. From its origins as a grass roots movement, to its funding through the general assembly, VIVA’s (the academic library consortium of Virginia) Open and Affordable Initiative closely aligns with the consortium’s goal of leveling the playing field for students across Virginia. It builds on the work that is valued by member institutions by developing the program components in direct response to their open education efforts. VIVA’s multi-pronged approach includes: a grant program, to empower faculty to contribute to the growing field of open course material; an OEN membership, to support open education library leaders across the state; a Faculty Portal, to highlight available texts and better understand the needs of our institutions; and a repository and collaboration hub that includes a statewide OER course mapping effort, as well as a way to highlight the OER developed at Virginia schools. Session participants will hear how to build a statewide program through deep community collaboration, how to maintain engagement, and how to rethink how we determine sustainability.

Learning Outcomes:
Specific strategies for building a statewide open initiative through deep community collaboration, maintaining member engagement, and new approaches to determining sustainability will be the key takeaways from this session. Inclusion of program components resulting from this approach will be explored, including: an open and affordable grant program; an OEN membership to support library leaders; a textbook portal; and an OER repository that includes a statewide OER course mapping effort.

avatar for Genya O'Gara

Genya O'Gara

VIVA Deputy Director, George Mason University
Genya O’Gara is the Associate Director of VIVA, the academic library consortium of Virginia, which represents 72 higher education institutions within the Commonwealth. She received her MSLS from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her BA from the Evergreen State College.
avatar for Stephanie Westcott

Stephanie Westcott

Open and Sustainable Learning Coordinator, George Mason University

Thursday November 12, 2020 12:00pm - 12:25pm EST
Concurrent 5
  Strategies, Presentation