Janet Swatscheno has been selected to participate in the pilot of the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, a new professional development initiative aimed at empowering open education leaders within academic libraries. The program is the first of its kind, providing intensive training over two semesters to support the use, creation, and advocacy of open educational resources and practices, with emphasis on leadership skills. Swatscheno is one of fourteen fellows from SPARC member libraries to selected participate in the pilot, and as part of the program, attended the 14th annual Open Education Conference in Anaheim, CA.
Tom Teper, Associate Dean for Collections and Technical Services at the University Library, said, “The University Library is very interested in being engaged in the development and integration of open educational resources on this campus. We are proud that Janet has been selected for this program, and we believe that her work will help pave the way for future students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”
The SPARC Open Education Leadership Program spans two semesters, beginning with an eight-week intensive online course in the fall to build open education subject matter expertise. In the spring, Janet will work with a mentor to implement a capstone project that will help advance open education at the University of Illinois.
“My goal for participating in the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program is to become a more effective advocate for open education, so that my work can have a greater impact for University of Illinois students,” said Swatscheno. “I am particularly interested in how the Scholarly Communication and Publishing department can play a greater role in supporting the adoption and publication of high quality open educational resources, and hope to explore this question in my capstone project.”
As part of the pilot, Swatscheno is also responsible for helping to improve and hone the curriculum, and will be cited as a contributor to the program’s development once it is fully launched in the fall of 2018. In keeping with the spirit of open education, all resources developed for the program will be released openly under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
“Academic libraries have become essential partners in advancing open education on campus, since they sit at the intersection of faculty, students, and high quality resources,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. “Our program aims to empower library professionals to accelerate the impact of open education on campus, whether that’s through reducing the cost of textbooks, expanding access to learning materials, improving student outcomes—or all of the above.”
The University of Illinois Library has been working to better understand the role it can play in supporting the adoption and publication of open educational resources. It has begun an environmental scan of OER on campus and hopes to expand the scan to a campus-wide survey in the near future. The ultimate goal is to encourage faculty to adopt and publish OER by providing the tools and training necessary for them to succeed.