Messages from Ron

OER Leader

Whenever I talked with Ron about his OER activities, he was always enthusiastic and generous with his time and thoughts.

When I worked at Hamline, I was preparing for a presentation and I had remembered some Macalester OER/library publishing examples that Ron had talked about at a LibTech conference presentation. I had emailed Ron asking for the links to the examples. This generous response helps illustrate his work and enthusiasm that he shared across the academic library community:

Wed, May 16, 2018 at 11:14 AM

Hi Louann,
Hope the start of summer is treating you well and that the end of the academic year was a ‘soft landing’ for you. Thanks for your interest in the OER and publishing efforts at Macalester. Here are more details…

…EDUC 250­01 Building Trust: Education in a Global Perspective is a lower­-to-­mid level educational studies course which deals with international development issues and creating social change through education. I made first contact with this faculty member through a workshop I held for faculty interested in developing OER content for their courses. The faculty member was frustrated by the fact that this subject is often not taught at the undergraduate level and therefore she couldn’t really find a good text to use for her undergraduate course. She wanted to explore creating her own textbook and this led to ‘exploding’ her course and re­designing it with open pedagogy in mind. I ended up serving as an embedded librarian for the course and while the content topics covered in the course remained the same, how it was covered and assessed ­ especially in class interactions and assignments ­ changed. The goal was to move away from traditional assignments like research papers to more meaningful assignments The students were enlisted to help create content for the textbook. For example, they were asked to work in groups to create an academically-focused infographic project that told a visual story of one of the global education theory covered in the course. We scaffold­ed this assignment to include an annotated bibliography, a peer-­review/peer­-feedback session, and concluding with a final presentation just before mid­ term break of their infographic to the class and guests including educational studies faculty members. The second big ‘assignment’ started just before mid­term where we had the students begin exploring a ‘live’ case study involving nine remote isolated villages in northern India in foothills of the Himalayas. We connected with an education­-focused NGO funded by a Swiss foundation engaging with and working through their organization and staff. The students would take the theories and concepts learned in lectures and classroom discussions and apply them to the villages. The faculuty member called this “bringing the world into the classroom”. Topics discussed included gender equity issues in education, forced dislocation due to conflict or disaster and its impact on education, and power dynamics and how the stakeholders effected educational decision­-making and opportunities. The students engaged with the NGO staff through asynchronous Moodle forum posts throughout and Zoom (Google hangout­-like) sessions occasionally where they were able to meet and talk with the NGO director and ask questions (difficult with time difference). The ‘assignment’ tied to this was for each small group of students to create learning objects or resources that could be used by the children in these villages to learn. Each group created a learning resource “kit” that is being sent over to India for adoption/adaption by the NGO staff. Each kit included a learning activity that kept in mind the environment in which they would be used (no technology, in fact no electricity in many of the schools), a facilitator’s guide which gave simple directions for implementing the activities, ways that the activities could be adapted given physical and learning disabilities present, and often a prototype of the activity game pieces or resources. Both the faculty member and I were pleasantly surprised by the work and thought that the students put into the kits and the NGO is excited to be getting them. You asked if there was a link to something ­ unfortunately, not yet. Starting this week, three students who took the course in the spring semester and the faculty member (with assistance from me) are beginning the creation of the textbook and a web site that includes information on the supplemental content and activities/assignments. It will be ready by August because the course is being offered again in the fall and the textbook will be used.

Good luck with your presentation to your faculty. I know that they will feel inspired!


Contributed by Louann Terveer


In Fond Memory: Ron Joslin Copyright © by DeWitt Wallace Library, Macalester College. All Rights Reserved.

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