An important stakeholder group and set of team members in most open education plans is students. Student groups, particularly student governments, are strong advocates for open education. More importantly, student groups can provide feedback on how open education affects their learning. There are a variety of ways that students can support open education efforts. Here are some suggestions for working with student groups.
Ask for Feedback
Students who take open education courses can describe how the change in learning resources affected their study habits, experience of the class, interactions with the teacher, and impacts on pocketbooks and grades. There are a variety of ways to ask students for feedback on their experiences with OER including surveys, focus groups, writing prompts, and interviews.
Invite Students to Planning Committees
Students can be strong partners on advisory groups and in the planning process. Invite student participants to the committee. Remember that students can help in advocacy, because faculty, administrators, and staff members are heavily invested in student experiences. Students are impacted most heavily by expensive textbook costs, and inviting student groups to your planning process sends a message that the institution cares about textbook costs and student success.
Inspire Student Events
Students can plan events to talk about textbook cost and open education. Ask student groups to plan advocacy events that will speak to other students. Ask them to include faculty who have adopted open education. Inspire a more complete conversation that includes the Bookstore, faculty, and student groups. Be sure that the conversation is constructive and institution-wide.
Students are also adept at using social media tools to motivate one another. For example the #textbookbroke campaign has sparked interest in open education worldwide. Student groups could be encouraged to add to an existing social media campaign on open education, or they could start their own.
Engage the Student Government
Student governments are the best allies in open education, because they often have regular meetings with institutional leadership and are often invited to committees throughout the institution. Also, student governments tend to have strong guidance in terms of exercising their student voice. The Student Government Resource Center published a helpful handbook that includes open education called “Making Textbooks Affordable.”