The 2019 Florida Virtual Campus’ (FLVC) OER Summit took place this year on February 27th & 28th just outside of Orlando in Maitland, Florida. The conference as a whole featured two full days packed with amazing keynote speakers and breakout sessions which fulfilled every type of OER question one may have had. Breakout sessions focused on topics such as partnerships and grants, faculty and staff OER training, critical instructional design issues on developing OER courses, and locating and organizing library OER resources. The agenda, developed based on feedback from the prior year’s conference survey results, also featured breakout workgroups for Business, Humanities, Mathematics, and Writing and Composition. Each morning and afternoon faculty, librarians, administrators, and staff were given a chance to collaborate and take a deeper dive into their subject area of choice. Discussions revolved around resources, implementation, course development, data tracking, and training and promoting OER on campus, among many others. With every workgroup session, attendees came with new questions, ideas, and suggestions for each other to take back to their colleges and this created a small subject-specific community of OER Champions within the conference itself.
Una Daly, Director for the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources started off the first day with an inspiring presentation on Leading the Educational Transformation towards Open. Starting off the conference with the statement of “Understanding the WHY makes the WHAT easier” was a great motivator for attendees to recall how substantial choosing open resources could be for students and faculty throughout their two-day adventure at the summit. If you ever start to lose sight of your purpose, always go back to your Why.
Ethan Senack, Policy and Outreach Manager at Creative Commons USA provided a Lunch and Learn presentation on How to use Copyright Exemptions & CCL in your course. His talk was fresh and humorous and provided attendees with an overview of the history of Creative Commons as well as in-depth information on the various creative commons licenses and their applications. Mixing the creative commons licenses always leads to questions, and Senack offered clarification on what to mix and what not to mix. The discussion also covered items within the public domain as well as facts and misconceptions around the fair use debate. The questions and answers at the end of a good session are always intriguing and can sometimes shed more light into deeper issues and challenges within the topic. This was no exception as Senack fielded interesting questions from the audience with humility and grace.
Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education at SPARC gave the following morning’s keynote titled Opening Education: Past, Present, and Future. It’s always inspiring to hear her story as she began her entry into the OER world as a student advocate while obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of Puget-Sound in Tacoma, Washington. The presentation provided a look back into the past around how and why the OER movement began by examining the one aspect of college where students could see immediate relief in costs, the textbook. Allen moved into OER’s current global environment, one where “open educational resources are here to stay, it’s not just an idea.” Lastly, she spoke to the future of the OER movement and questions we need to be asking ourselves around data privacy with publisher content and digital course materials. She left the audience with this thought, “Be the person you have been waiting for to make the change you want to see on your campus.”
Overall, the FLVC OER Summit is not one to be missed if you are in the southeast region of the US. While the vast majority of the attendees are from Florida institutions, the overall vibe of the conference is welcoming and community-driven to those traveling from out of state. The keynotes and many of the presentation materials can be found online in the 2019 FLVC OER Summit Digital Resources course.