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21 October 2021

Open Educational Resources for inclusive education

Danni McCarthy is the coordinator of Deakin’s Inclusive Education Community of Practice (CoP). She interviewed Angie Williamson, Open Education Program Coordinator, about the recent panel event: The power of Open of Educational Resources for inclusive education. 

You suggest Open Educational Resources (OER) have different meanings and importance for people dependent on their reason for developing them. What is the power of OERs for you? 

This is a big question. For me, it would be the access of OERs. If we use open resources, especially as a textbook, we provide equity among the students because they all have access to the same resources at the same time. Some students don’t have to wait for their pay to buy a textbook or to access a library copy. The power of OERs means everyone has the same opportunities. 

What do you hope for Deakin and its emerging practices with OERs? 

We have made a good start at Deakin and learned a lot this year. At the panel discussion, we considered aspects of open education that align with our innovative environment. Ideas such as ease of use, peer review and challenging traditional assessment formats resonated most with those who attended. This year we have been dipping our toes in the water to work out the best path forward and I think this is moving us towards a bigger conversation. 

Creating OERs is a great idea but from a practical perspective, is the time it takes to produce OERs one of the biggest challenges? 

It’s true, it takes time to create resources. However, getting started doesn’t have to be a major task. Start small – use or adapt a chapter of an open text or work with colleagues to create a resource. Including OER searching in the process for reviewing your unit content is another easy way to start. 

If people are interested in getting started with OERs, how should they proceed? 

A good place to start is the Open Education Resources (OERs) and DRM-free resources library guide at Deakin. This has lots of great information on searching for and using OERs. You can also contact me or your Liaison Librarian. 

Dr Eseta Tualaulelei, who co-presented the panel, has done some great work in this space. Can you tell us a little bit about her work? 

She really was inspirational and gave a tangible way for us to learn about, and get started with, OERs. I encourage everyone to have a look at the recording of the panel discussion: The power of Open Education Resources for inclusive education. You can also look at Eseta’s work ‘Gems and nuggets: Multicultural education for young children’ and ‘Hidden treasures: Intercultural resources for early years educators’. 

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