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Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings (a living guide): Stakeholders

OER initiatives, particularly those involving course markings, have the potential to impact a large group of stakeholders who may have vastly different responsibilities, opinions, and experiences. Additionally, the concept of OER may be new to many who should be involved with establishing policies and workflows related to increasing transparency about OER use. The process can be complex, even contentious, and requires frequent communication with a variety of stakeholders. This page highlights important considerations when working with different stakeholder groups. It is not an exhaustive list of stakeholders or stakeholder concerns.

Administration

Administrators are perhaps the most obvious stakeholder group to involve early in the conversation about providing searchable information, as they often facilitate the implementation of new policies and processes that impact the entire campus. However, they do not always initiate this work. Even when mandates are involved, as is the case in Texas, it’s best to avoid assumptions that administrators are aware of the regulation, its impact, and its implications for campus.

green circle Administrators can be excellent allies in developing and communicating expectations to instructors, particularly in units that don’t have strong ties to the university’s open education efforts.
yellow circle Administrative buy-in can take time to develop and progress can be slow. Begin outreach with this stakeholder group immediately.
Red circle Expect misconceptions about OER, and be prepared to address concerns about inaccurate reporting.

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Registrars

Most OER course marking strategies will involve the records or registrar's office. Personnel in this unit frequently have existing relationships with the campus store and college or university administrators, and they are the linchpin for adapting systems to accommodate new course information. Registration and records offices can provide valuable information about how existing systems work and how course information is funneled from instructors to students. They are vital stakeholders in determining the feasibility of modifications or additions to existing platforms. Additionally, they are frequently responsible for producing and protecting university data and can assist in efforts to streamline reporting and improve information sharing.

green circle Records offices are accustomed to accommodating legal requirements related to higher education, such as SB810.
yellow circle A number of constraints exist when working with "out of the box" systems supporting registration and the schedule of classes, such as Banner or Peoplesoft software.
Red circle Customization of existing interfaces used by records and registration can pose financial and technological barriers.

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Libraries

Librarians are increasingly developing subject matter expertise and leading OER efforts, frequently as a component of broader open scholarship initiatives. Libraries tend to be the first place students turn to when they are unable to afford their educational resources, and they have a long history of connecting communities to resources that meet their information needs. This makes librarians natural partners for open education initiatives and library collections fertile territory for affordable resource adoptions.

green circle Increasing equity and ensuring access for all are guiding principles of libraries and represent overlap between library missions and open education.
yellow circle A deep knowledge of the publishing landscape and related open issues may contribute to librarians being zealous advocates.
Red circle Librarians can make excellent partners, but their influence is limited without faculty leadership and cooperation.

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Campus Stores

A common misconception about the campus store is that stores must oppose OER initiatives. The reality is stores have been on the front lines of providing affordable access to course content for decades. Campus stores walk a fine line between supporting student success and generating revenue for the university. Digitization has dramatically changed store operations, and they continue to evolve to meet the needs of changing student demographics and university environments. Campus stores frequently carry the burden of ensuring compliance with textbook disclosure regulations, and yet they consistently struggle with collecting complete and timely resource adoption information from instructors— particularly when free resources are used.

green circle Supporting student success and improving resource reporting are two goals store personnel share with other campus stakeholders.
yellow circle Strategize with store personnel to address revenue changes that may result from widespread OER adoption.
Red circle Store websites and databases may require remediation to add transparency to course listings that include OER.

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Faculty

Faculty can make or break OER course marking initiatives, as any successful effort requires timely and accurate resource reporting from faculty and/or resource coordinators. Uncontrollable factors, such as last-minute course assignments or schedule changes, can further complicate reporting. Concerns over academic freedom are common responses to new OER efforts; outreach and education surrounding intellectual property and information ownership may be necessary to overcome misconceptions.

green circle Word-of-mouth outreach by early OER adopters can be a powerful influence.
yellow circle The impact of delayed or incomplete resource reporting is not always evident to instructors responsible for selecting and reporting resources, particularly when free resources are used.
Red circle OER course marking efforts may be perceived as a reward for those who use open resources or a punishment for those who do not.

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Students

Student feedback is essential to ensure that tools and processes implemented to benefit students have the intended benefit. They can help to define the limits of "low cost" or "affordable" designations and can provide context for understanding how students seek, select, and sign up for their coursework. This allows us to identify gaps or inefficiencies in the process. Additionally, student involvement can help stakeholders identify webpages for integration of content related to understanding OER and identifying courses that adopt open or affordable resource alternatives. Student organizations and individual student volunteers can assist in planning, implementing, and communicating course marking solutions and other open education initiatives.

green circle Student concerns about textbook costs, bundles, and access codes can be a powerful driving force for campus change.
yellow circle Most students are unfamiliar with OER, so use of the term may have less of an impact than other terms commonly used for course markings (e.g., free).
Red circle Provide opportunities for students to share inpupt and feedback on course markings and to report inaccuracies they may encounter.

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