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VIVA: 2023 OACC Forum

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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2023 Open and Affordable Community Forum

Open for Creation: The Power of Belonging

October 13, 2023

Virginia Commonwealth University



Robin DeRosa

Care and the Commons: Open Education and the Architecture of Community

In this presentation, Robin will explore the way that care can help orient our approaches to building more equitable and engaging learning environments, and how community can offer a foundational logic for articulating the value of higher education. From Open Educational Resources (OERs) to open pedagogical practices to Open Access publishing, Robin will describe an ecosystem that is driven less by the logic of cost savings and more by a commitment to the public good. Robin will present concrete ideas for how the daily work inside of colleges and universities— the work of instructors, librarians, designers, technologists, administrators, support staff, students— can be leveraged not only to facilitate learning, but also to build a hopeful future for our institutions, a future in which academia delivers real benefit to the communities that surround and infuse it.

Register here:

Please note VIVA's Code of Conduct


Time Session
9:00 AM



10:00 AM


10:15 AM


"Care and the Commons: Open Education and the Architecture of Community" Robin DeRosa (Plymouth State University)

11:15 AM


11:30 AM

"Connecting, Creating, and Saving: Students at the Heart of the OER Initiative" Karen Bjork, Abbey Childs, Julia Martinez Godinez, Damian Ashjian, Aryan Venkanagari (VCU), Jessica Kirschner (VIVA)

Like many OER programs, the growth of VCU’s Open and Affordable Course Content Initiative stalled based on the small program staff. The OER Librarian had expressed interest in supporting OER publications; however, competing priorities meant expansion into this area was limited to singular projects as time allowed. In Spring 2022, the initiative hired Student Publication Assistants to enable this expansion. After training on OER and publishing, the students were tasked with serving as the point person to support the publication efforts of faculty trying to finish their projects. This presentation will present a brief overview of VCU’s publishing support and how student workers have become integrated into this key piece of VCU’s OER support. It will then turn to a panel of current Student Publishing Assistants who will share their experiences, including

  • how their involvement in this work has shaped both their understanding of and feelings toward OER,
  • how they feel their input in the publication process has shaped these resources,
  • why they joined the OER initiative and how joining early in their college careers shaped their experience at VCU,
  • how this work fosters a connection to the larger VCU community, and
  • the important transferable skills they've learned throughout their time in the initiative since projects are assigned based on the student's skill set.

From working with faculty to sharing content with students, the Student Publishing Assistants will encapsulate what it means to work in an educational landscape that values and uplifts every student, faculty member, and learner.

12:15 PM


VIVA Update (Genya O'Gara) 

1:00 PM

Breakout Session

Short Talks

Breakout session one / Room 303 

"Creating Open Access Resources for Nontraditional Students in Early Childhood Education Programs" Maryam Sharifian (JMU)

The educational landscape requires an increased variety of teachers entering the field. The Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Individualized Studies program is a new online program within a teacher preparation institution located in a comprehensive university on the east coast of the United States. It is designed for students who have earned their Applied Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (ECE) from a community college to pursue teacher licensure. This online early childhood program aims to increase access to students who have valuable attributes to contribute to the field of education (Kaplan & Bellwether Education Partners, 2018).

In order to practically be supportive of nontraditional students and create free access to course materials, the program invested in advocating for VIVA Open and Affordable Community practices in each course to create universal access and promote equity and quality in early childhood education not only for JMU students but every student in a teacher education program across our nation. The syllabus for the capstone course, the last main course that students take during their student teaching, was submitted on VIVA’s Open Syllabus Bank through OER summer grant. This is one of the most up-to-date and high quality courses in this program. In addition to the Open Syllabus Bank, several courses within this program include Open Access textbooks in order to prevent financial challenges for students and support free access to materials. In this presentation, the author will present examples of courses and progress toward creating comprehensive open access for all educational programs.

"Human Elements in OER Work: Developing an Ethic of Hospitality and Care" Anita Walz (Virginia Tech)

For project managers and subject matter experts alike, OER projects can be labor-intensive. It can be easy to view such projects as merely functional, driven by project-management methods and production techniques. In the same way that teaching combines disciplinary facts and perspectives with social engagement, motivation, and design -- and because OER work is also with and for people -- these human aspects are an integral part of creating course materials.

This brief presentation highlights several perspectives, challenges, and examples related to hospitality and care within OER creation projects related to an OER. These touch on communication strategies, roles of project managers and subject matter experts, human limitations including boundaries, burnout, and conflict, and understanding and leveraging stakeholder motivations -- including student savings, but also learning, curiosity, creativity, and the value of worthwhile work.

"Remediating Hidden Voices: OER Opportunities for 19th-Century Periodicals" Julie Sorge Way (JMU) 

In developing OER for humanities coursework, nineteenth-century popular periodicals offer an especially rich field for textual study. Newly digitized resources, many seen for the first time in decades, create opportunities for students to be investigators and discoverers, as well as to increase public access to resources within these open-access archives of material now in the public domain. Expanding our understanding of what makes a canonical text worthy of study by including these texts encourages students to experience meaningful inquiry-led learning that has real world impacts, inviting past voices, some long forgotten, back into our understanding of the past. By developing OER that work toward these aims, and networking with others to do the same, educators can 1. Encourage a more inclusive understanding of the past, moving beyond established canonical voices 2. Develop students’ digital and technological literacy 3. Expand access for further research through linked projects My short session will end with examples from my own research and OER development based on my research on a little-studied nineteenth century women’s magazine during the tenure of its first female editor.

"From Potential to Possibility: Virginia Tech's Journey in Developing Inclusive OER" Heather Blicher (Virginia Tech) and Kindred Grey (Virginia Tech) 

Accessibility is an essential component in developing open educational resources (OER). It amplifies the reach and impact of OER by extending usability to a broader audience. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in and benefit from course materials, to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the content effectively. This expanded audience enriches the learning experience for all and encourages collaboration, diversity, and innovation.

Accompany us as we take you through Virginia Tech’s journey making open materials increasingly accessible over the years. Hear about our beginning accessibility efforts, how we are currently approaching accessibility, and features we would like to incorporate in the future. We’ll highlight standard features that make learning resources more accessible and also share a few new features that Virginia Tech’s program has incorporated, such as QR codes, podcasts, Aria tagging, and PDF remediation. We also invite diverse perspectives into the process, including individuals with disabilities and educators specializing in accessibility who provide insights on making resources more inclusive from the outset. Lastly, we’ll talk about some features that we have in the pipeline, such as offering multiple languages and audiobooks. We recognize that new user needs arise every day. Let’s use our time together to stay curious about accessibility features and build a community to support each other.

"WebXR as a Potential Solution to Open and Accessible VR and AR Educational Content" Jonathan Bradley (Virginia Tech)

Breakout session two / Room 250 

As XR (extended reality) continues to make an impact on the academic world and more instructors and researcher turn to it to build engaging experiences, the question of how to ensure access to these experiences and make them as open as possible arises. There are multiple issues related to XR work, concerning both the storage and distribution of the raw assets used in the creation of the experience and the handling and distribution of the experience itself. For the latter concern, WebXR, a browser-based set of standards that allows for AR and VR experiences to be executed in the browser by visiting a URL as opposed to requiring installing software designed for a specific set of hardware presents itself as the potential path forward. In this presentation, I will talk about the challenges of providing access to these sorts of experiences, where traditional distribution methods fail us, and how WebXR can solve said issues and should be considered the target for AR and VR educational content that we want to make open and accessible.

2:00 PM


2:15 PM

"Creating an Open Pedagogy Fellowship that Fosters Belonging" Nicole Wilson, Elaine Kaye, Liz Chenevey (JMU) 

In this session, two instructional designers and a liaison librarian will discuss their collaboration to design and implement a faculty development fellowship focused on Open Pedagogy and social justice. The Opening Up Fellowship includes 7 interdisciplinary JMU faculty and is taking place from Spring 2023-Spring 2024. The goal of this presentation is to provide an overview of the program that specifically focuses on how the facilitators have operationalized care through their values-based framework by sharing our design process and examples of our materials. This framework pulls from Critical Digital Pedagogy, the ACRL Information Literacy Framework, and Rajiv Jhangiani’s 5 Rs for Open Pedagogy. Finally, in our time together the facilitators will make space for participants to consider and discuss various ways to collaborate and build interdisciplinary learning spaces that center social justice in order to foster belonging and an open worldview.

3:00 PM

Wrap Up

Liz Thompson (JMU) 


* Travel reimbursement for VIVA member library staff only.