OER Discovery Research: Librarian and Faculty Curation Personas

ISKME’s work over the last decade has revealed that a principal barrier to OER use by educators is difficulty in finding the resources that they need. Existing OER platforms, including the Open Textbook Network, ISKME’s own OER Commons, and a growing number of institutional OER repositories provide access to high quality OER. However, these OER often do not include metadata on learning outcomes or alignment to local course requirements and topics—making the task of identifying relevant OER time consuming and ineffective for the library staff and faculty end user. 

Supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), ISKME has been working in collaboration with six academic library consortia, including OhioLINK, Louisiana Library Network (LOUIS), Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas (DigiTex), Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) and Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration (PALCI), to study how faculty and library staff search for and discover OER. This research will drive the development of a solution to enable postsecondary educators to more efficiently discover and share course-aligned OER across states, libraries, institutions, and repositories. 

At the Open Education 2021 Conference this year, ISKME and two partners presented the results of the first phase of the research, which included in-depth interviews conducted with 35 faculty and library staff spanning the participating consortia and seven states. The interviews sought to assess the tasks and decision making processes faculty and library staff use when selecting, evaluating and assembling OER, and the extensions to existing metadata that are needed to accommodate their decision making. The interviews resulted in the development of five OER curation “personas” that describe archetypical users representing the curation and metadata needs of core faculty and library staff OER curators: 1) the Faculty Textbook Replacer, 2) the Faculty A La Carte Curator, 3) the Collections Maintenance Librarian, 4) the Course Redesign Support Librarian, and 5) the OER Reference Librarian. 

Session presenters, Cynthia Jimes and Michelle Brennan of ISKME, Sophie Rondeau of VIVA, and Emily Frank of LOUIS, discussed how each of the personas carries unique as well as shared needs that OER repositories and initiatives can address as they work to support enhanced OER discovery—from the importance of including a table of contents or list of topics on the resource’s overview page (all personas), to the need for notifications of new or updated metadata records as they become available for OER collections (Collections Maintenance Librarian persona). These personas, described in the slide presentation, below, are openly licensed for use by the wider community, as we continue to gather feedback and assess the implications of the findings for both future OER research and for institution- and library-level OER curation practice.

Link to OpenEd 2021 Panel Session Presentation: OER Discovery Research: Librarian and Faculty Curation Personas

November 02, 2021