ISKME's 2019 Highlights

This year, ISKME invested deeply in our work building communities of educators, librarians, and practitioners. From adding new partners and library collections in OER Commons to enhancing tools for collaboration and authorship; from leading professional development workshops across the country and helping to host the #GoOpen National Summit to reinvigorating our research support services, we are proud of the impact we’ve had in 2019.

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Our Growing OER Commons Community

We launched five new partner OER libraries, supporting educators in the discovery, curation, and creation of OER in Maryland, Ohio, Louisiana, Virginia, and North Carolina. We also launched five new Hubs on OER Commons, including our first public library Hub with Baltimore County’s Make-It Place, supporting the growth of our library collections for users worldwide. The opportunity to work with all of these groups has enabled ISKME to meet educators and learners where they are.

In addition to building out new libraries for our partners, we've been working hard to improve user experience across the OER Commons platform. For example, through our partnership with CAST, we continued to improve our tools for creating “born accessible” OER by updating Open Author with EPUB3 (braille-ready) download options, developing an accessibility checker, and conducting research around how best to describe accommodations for all users. The accessibility checker was just the start of a redesign of Open Author, the OER authoring tool embedded in OER Commons and on our partner OER libraries.

Focusing Our Research Around Impact

Drawing lessons from school districts and libraries, ISKME developed a free openly licensed guidebook to help school librarians and district officials develop a coherent roadmap for OER curation and implementation. The guidebook, School Librarians as OER Curators: A Framework to Guide Practice, is the result of a two-year research study supported by the Institute of Museum and Libraries Services (IMLS), and in partnership with Florida State University iSchool, library education experts, and 50 school librarians across 5 states (CA, FL, MI, NH, WA). Building on our research results, we also contributed a chapter, “Librarians as Leaders of Open Educational Practice,” to the Association of College and Research Libraries book, Applying Library Values to Emerging Technology.

ISKME, in partnership with the Internet Archive, announced a prototype of the Universal School Library (USL) to offer equitable access to high quality reading for young learners. The USL is being designed as a collection of 15,000 digitized books, to be made available through Controlled Digital Lending to schools across the U.S. - particularly in traditionally underserved areas. 

Additionally, we collaborated with the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to design and implement an OER adoption and use survey of Texas public and private institutions. The survey results helped to define a set of priorities for enabling OER as a state-wide strategy. Per our Texas partner Judith Sebesta, “The resulting report...is rigorous, comprehensive, and insightful, and its recommendations will serve as the foundation for our future work to support OER at our member institutions.”

Supporting the #GoOpen Initiative

As part of the United States Department of Education's #GoOpen initiative, which started in 2015, ISKME supported the launch of the #GoOpen Network site GoOpen.us to coordinate ongoing collaboration and sharing among states and districts across the U.S. We helped to design and facilitate the #GoOpen National Summit, November 7-8 in Washington, DC which brought together over 150 participants from various districts, states, and supporting organizations. During the event, states and districts to showcased their impactful work to inspire others, such as:

  • Washington led an OER Bootcamp workshop and shared their project to create and curate Tribal Curriculum

  • Pennsylvania’s Association of Intermediate Units shared their entry point and pathway to OER and how they collaborated to create their STEM Toolkit & upcoming Civics Toolkit

  • Virginia showcased their #GoOpenVA Communication Kit and engaged participants in creating their own OER communications

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In the year ahead, we’ll prioritize supporting OER communities of practice; expanding our research, technical, and training tools for increased collaboration and interoperability; building out our library collections with high-quality resources; and strengthening our strategy around improving equity, accessibility, and inclusion in education.  

You can support our work by making a year-end contribution today.