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by: Karen Rege, Director for eLearning and Instructional Resources, Harford Community College, MD

According to recent research,* the primary impediment to adoption of OERs is not enough knowledge about them. Marketing is therefore critical to the success of any OER initiative. Marketing OERs to your campus community can be challenging, but here are 12 strategies in no particular order that have worked successfully on other college campuses:

  1.     Create a strategic plan or formal adoption policy. The act of getting a plan vetted through the faculty governing body will raise awareness.  
  2.     Get buy-in from top level administration. Faculty will be more likely to join the initiative if they know it is supported by the President, Provost, and most importantly, their deans.
  3.     Get buy-in from students. Student government and the student newspaper are great ways to get the word out to students about your initiative. Although after a few successful piloted courses, the students will generate their own buzz about which courses use OERs.
  4.     Create a survey of faculty projects. Not only will it give you data to work with, it will also raise awareness among faculty. Internally publish the results.
  5.     Money talks. Create a spreadsheet to document savings to students and publish the results in campus publications and communications.
  6.     Work with the Public Relations department to brand the initiative. Logos, swag and other materials will catch the eyes of faculty. PR may also be able to give you marketing ideas that you might not have thought of.
  7.     Get the Board of Trustees involved. While most of us don’t have much communication with the Board, they can be strong allies who generally want to be able to talk about all the great work your institution is doing to save money for students on textbooks.  They really do care, so don’t forget about them.
  8.     Fund faculty projects. Whether it’s cash or technology, faculty will be more likely to put in the work to create OERs if they are rewarded, at least at the start-up of your initiative.
  9.     Engage librarians and instructional designers in the curation and adaptation of OER to support faculty adoptions.  They work with lots of faculty and can help spread the word.
  10.  Partner with the center for teaching/faculty development to offer workshops on OER adoptions or hold teaching circles for faculty to share their experiences
  11.  Create an online presence with a website or a library guide. Connect it to everywhere possible on campus.
  12.  Present, present, present! Present at committee meetings, department faculty meetings, general faculty meetings and institutes, faculty professional development events, administrative meetings, student groups, and to anyone else who will listen.

Do you have a proven strategy not listed here?  Email me at krege@harford.edu so we can add to this list!

* Belikov, O.M, & Bodily, R. (2016). Incentives and barriers to OER adoption: a qualitative analysis of faculty perceptions. Open Praxis, 8(3), 235–246. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.3.308

Bradley, P. (2013, May 13). Opening the textbook: open educational resources movement gathers momentum. Community College Week, 6-8. Print.

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