I’m Paola Corti, and I’m serving as a member of the Board of Directors for OE Global. I am from Italy and work as a project manager in METID, the Learning Innovation Unit of Politecnico di Milano, an institutional member of OE Global. I am also the OE community manager for SPARC Europe, serving the European Network of Open Education Librarians, whose work continues to be focused on implementing the UNESCO OER Recommendation. I use it as a guiding document whenever I start a new project or activity: it helps me refocus on the action areas and how the new project can, directly and indirectly, support operationalising them.
As with every other OE practitioner, there are limitations I deal with. Some depend on me, and I can do my best to go beyond them - largely thanks to the OE community, which is always keen to share ideas and solutions in places like this (so, thank you all!). Some other limitations are not in my control; they relate to institutional decisions or contextual issues. I focus on the firsts but am interested in understanding how to contribute or grab opportunities to work on the seconds in time. One of these issues is recognition. Recognition strategies play a crucial role in acknowledging and rewarding educators for their efforts in adopting and adapting Open Educational Resources (OER).
So here is a question: what types of institutional support, beyond financial incentives, have proven most effective in encouraging faculty to embrace OER and in which context? How can institutions create a supportive environment that recognises and rewards faculty efforts in adopting and adapting open educational resources?
I have found some ideas about the subject, but I’d love to ask the OEG community for more examples of how it works in diverse contexts. I’m listing these ideas here; you might be inspired (as I am) or refer to them in your reply to share what works in your context.
- Let’s start with offering professional development opportunities, recognising faculty engagement in OER adoption and librarians’ engagement in promoting them. This can include workshops, webinars, and training sessions focused on OER integration and effective teaching practices.
- It might be with formal acknowledgement in faculty evaluations, by integrating OER-related activities into faculty evaluation criteria, recognising and rewarding faculty members who actively contribute to the development and use of OER in their teaching and research.
- It can go through the creation of OER Awards to honour educators who have demonstrated excellence in OER adoption and creation, or through practices or advocacy, highlighting outstanding contributions in terms of student benefits. Or by integrating OER-related criteria into existing teaching awards, recognising educators who demonstrate innovation and excellence in teaching through OER and/or OEP.
- Providing faculty fellowships or grants to support OER initiatives could be another strategy, including financial support for creating OER, conducting research on the impact of OER, or organising workshops to share knowledge within and beyond the institution.
- The institution can also designate faculty members as “Open Education Champions” to recognise their commitment to promoting and implementing OER. This designation can be accompanied by public acknowledgement and visibility within the institution.
- Fostering a sense of community by encouraging collaborative recognition initiatives might work, too. For example, establish recognition programs that involve peer review, where faculty members recognise and celebrate each other’s contributions to OER.
- Provide opportunities for faculty to publish and disseminate their experiences with OER adoption. This could include showcasing case studies, articles, or presentations at conferences, highlighting the positive impact of OER on teaching and learning.
- If institutional leaders publicly acknowledge and express appreciation for faculty members who contribute to OER initiatives, they can reinforce the value of OER adoption across the institution.
Creating a supportive environment that values and encourages faculty engagement with OER and recognising the efforts of educators contributes to a culture of openness, collaboration, and continuous improvement in teaching and learning.
I’d be grateful if you would share what works in your institution and why so we can get inspired and try following your lead, if doable.