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Tuesday, November 10 • 12:30pm - 12:55pm
Let Us In!: Utilizing Decolonized OERs to Increase Learner Acquisition

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Activist Angela Davis has written extensively on abolitionism as well as diversity, particularly in relation to capitalism and how it structures society. The classroom, whether it takes places in a traditional building, virtually, or a combination of the two, is a microcosm of all societal ideologies, whether or not learners and instructors are cognizant. This panel will examine the historical usage of OERs, and how they evolved, as well as how pivotal it is to select OERs that reflect the needs of all learners.

The concept of OERs was born in the 1970s, and, while they originally existed for only certain disciplines, have been created in most disciplines today. Attending a public university was significantly cheaper in the 1970s, as the state and federal government funded the majority of the costs. As the cost of textbooks has risen astronomically, so has the need for quality OERs. Even when cost is not a factor for students, studies have shown that students prefer courses that use OERs (Fischer, Hilton, Schaffhauser, Stout), not only in lower level class, but in higher level classes too. Even though some instructors are resistant to utilizing OERs, studies demonstrate a greater need to implement them. Even more beneficial, student grades are typically higher in courses that use OERs.

That said, as is the case with any textbook, the type of OERs makes the definite difference. Students and educators often hear the term "diversity" used, but, one must ask, what is diversity? Different groups of people? Davis proposes the notion "that diversity must be combined with justice" and that we must strive for "diversity that makes a difference." By comparing sample OERs for a variety of disciplines, the importance of visual representation and the usage of language will be clearly delineated. Even though we all have our own biases and see the world through our own lens, OERs that allow for a variety of viewpoints and do not embrace any political agendas can foment a discussion on the importance of respectfully discussing issues with others who do not share the same viewpoint, regardless of the particular course content. OERs that favor one viewpoint over another, in the long run, inhibit critical thinking, a goal of learning in general.

As the United States becomes an increasingly more heterogeneous nation, selecting OERs that embrace Davis' notion of diversity may increase student learning and refine critical thinking skills.

Learning Outcomes:
After listening to this presentation, it is hoped that the members of the audience will: 1)recognize how the usage of Open Educational Resources (OERs) can easily remove traditional barriers to the classroom and increase learner acquisition; 2)learn strategies for selecting OERs that reject the traditional paradigm and aim for Crenshaw's concept of intersectionality; 3)how the usage of OERs can foment the creation of a more inclusive classroom and raise critical awareness.

avatar for Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller

Associate Professor, Clayton State University
avatar for Reine Turcato

Reine Turcato

Assistant Adjunct Professor, St. Francis University

Tuesday November 10, 2020 12:30pm - 12:55pm EST
Concurrent 4
  Social Justice, Presentation