University Writing launches new open educational resource

Published: October 06, 2021

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University Writing has launched a new open educational resource, or OER, that contains worksheets and handouts on numerous writing-focused topics, such as editing and proofreading, literature reviews and ePortfolios. Christopher Basgier, director of University Writing, expressed enthusiasm for the OER saying, “We have long been known locally and nationally for our high-quality ePortfolio resources. I am excited that our OER includes an expanded menu of materials, and that these materials are accessible for different users.”

The OER represents the culmination of a multi-year collaboration among University Writing, the Office of the Provost’s Communications and Marketing team, and the Office of Communications and Marketing, or OCM. Basgier and Amy Cicchino, ssociate director of University Writing, initially conceptualized the OER when they realized faculty and students could benefit from the many materials University Writing had created for workshops over the years. Marisa Singh, communications and marketing specialist with the Office of the Provost, coordinated the project and recruited John Walker, information technology specialist with OCM, to build the OER infrastructure.

Once Walker finished the design, a team of University Writing graduate and undergraduate students led the effort to redesign materials and populate the OER. University Writing Graduate Program Assistant Katharine Brown served as project manager, overseeing the efforts of Miller Writing Center Consultant Ved Soni, University Writing Undergraduate Program Assistant Mark Smith and University Writing Undergraduate Program Assistant Heesun Yoon.

“I enjoyed working with Ved, Mark, and Heesun to prepare hundreds of documents for publication to the OER,” Brown said. “As a result of their efforts, writers and educators both within and outside the university will be able to utilize University Writing’s materials in accessible formats.”

The team plans to present on their achievement during the 2022 Global Society for Online Literacy Educators conference. In a conference abstract, they note that the OER process allowed them “to be active participants in the ongoing discussion of educational equity."

The OER was built with accessibility in mind, using University Writing’s Accessibility and Inclusion Guide. The OER team repackaged University Writing workshop materials into a new template and checked all documents for accessible headings, alternative text, and high contrast colors. All resources are also available in accessible Word and PDF formats to support users with different devices and communication needs. All materials include a Creative Commons license that allows for non-commercial recirculation and reuse with attribution. University Writing welcomes feedback via a survey at the top of the OER page.

Students who would like guidance on utilizing OER materials during the writing process are invited to make an appointment with the Miller Writing Center. Faculty who would like guidance on adapting OER materials for their courses are welcome to set up a consultation with Basgier or Cicchino.

Submitted by: Christopher Basgier