Office Hours: Strategies for Dealing with Invisible Labour

Office Hours: Strategies for Dealing with Invisible Labour


And we’re underway, great. Thank you so much everybody for joining us,
it’s lovely to see you all. We’re really pleased to be having this part
two of our sessions on invisible labour with some great guests. Before we jump into it, I wanted to share
a little bit of news from Rebus. We’re excited to have a couple of new fun
things for people to use and play with. The first is that you can now get a dedicated
project discussion space, if you have a project in the works, that allows you to communicate
with your team. And we’re also opening up to people who want
to post calls for contributors in our contributor marketplace and if you let us know, we can
include those in our reach outs through our newsletter and social media and things like
that. So, hopefully, that’s useful to some of you
who have work underway. And I’ll get Lee to drop a couple of links
and Apurva as well. She’s quick off the mark, into the chat there
if that’s interesting to anybody. And of course, you can always reach us through
the Rebus discussion threads if you want to be asking any more questions about that. So, that out of the way, let’s get to it. We had a fantastic call last month. I hope many of you were there, and I see a
few people who’ve returned for this one with our guests talking about invisible labour,
to get the conversation started. Talking about their own stories and experiences
of it, we do have that call available if anybody wants to re-watch it. And we’re now really pleased to have more
guests joining us to tackle this really important issue and coming at it this time through the
lens and strategies for addressing and dealing with invisible labour within OER. It’s a very big issue, there’s a lot that
is at the systemic level that is not necessarily something we can address within an hour. But all of us are here to do the work and
find practical ways to move forward. So, we’re really looking forward to hearing
from both our guests and everybody else on this call has a lot to offer. So, with that, I will hand over to Karen,
from OTN to introduce our guests and a bit more about the session. Thank you, Karen. Thanks, Zoe. My name is Karen Lauritsen, I’m with the Open
Textbook Network and we are delighted to partner with the Rebus Community monthly for these
Office Hour calls. As Zoe said, this is a part two, the first
time we’ve tried I think a part one and part two. And so, in this session continuing the conversation
on invisible labour, we’re going to talk about strategies to move your initiatives forward
in this environment and hear from three people who have three very different roles in the
open education space. They’re going to talk about perhaps how they’ve
incorporated OER into their job descriptions, developed techniques for examining and restructuring
work relationships to maybe even reduce emotional investment in the work. And advocated for sustainable budgets and
staffing especially for growing OER programmes. So, our three guests today, I will share a
little bit about them, in the order in which they’ll talk. If this is your first time in Office Hours,
it’s very informal. Our guests will talk about three to five minutes
each, with some background about their experience and their role, and in this case how they
have approached the issue of invisible labour. And then, we’ll want to hand things over to
all of you, and get your questions, your stories, and your comments. So, now for the introductions. First, I’m pleased to introduce Tanya Spilovoy. She’s a director of open policy at WICHE Cooperative
for Educational Technologies. Tanya leads the Z Initiative there, which
focuses on the policy, practice and implementation of OER in states, systems and higher education
institutions. After Tanya, we’ll hear from Carla Myers. She’s coordinator of scholarly communications
for the Miami University in Ohio. Her responsibilities include facilitating
the use of OER on campus, answering questions about US copyright law, and helping faculty
and students promote their scholarship and research within their professional communities
into the public. And then, finally, we will hear from Matt
DeCarlo, he is assistant professor of social work in the school of social work at Radford
University in Virginia. He’s also the author of the open textbook
“Scientific Inquiry in Social Work”. So, Tanya, if you’re ready I will hand it
over to you. Good morning. Actually, I guess it’s afternoon for most
of you. I’m calling from North Dakota and I’d like
to acknowledge the native tribes that are from this land. And my husband and children are both from
Standing Rock, we have the three affiliated tribes and this land that I am sitting on
is part of the Great Plains. So, it’s great to be here with all of you. So, my position is with the WICHE cooperative
for educational technologies. WICHE, there are four regional compacts in
the United States. They are made up of state members, so the
western interstate commission for higher education has 16 states, including North Dakota, South
Dakota, Nevada, California, and Hawaii. We also have some associated territories that
are involved with WICHE and within WICHE there are departments. So, I’m in the technology department. The interesting thing about the compacts in
the United States, there’s four different regions of states, is that people come together
from all these different states to do educational policies. So, they’re focused on higher ed policy that
makes things better for students. A lot of the work that is done at the regional
compacts has to do with cost savings, transfer of credits. They work on big initiatives for graduation
rates. And just recently, have become more interested
in reducing costs through the adoption of open educational resources. So, how would this be done? It’s to like the large grand scale at state
and policy level. And how do legislators, governors, state higher
education executive officers and the presidents of large universities come to understand what
policies might help all of you do your work even better on the campuses? So, my job is to do a lot of education for
policymakers, help them understand some best practice, give them examples of things that
have worked in other states. So, for example, I worked at the state of
Colorado OER council. They had a group of people that were appointed
by their governor to come together and talk about OER and how to do it on campuses. And so, I helped them do a survey for the
entire state to gather information. Put together a survey report, to then distribute
to their legislature and then, the legislature from the recommendations of the OER council
and from my consulting funded the OER work in the state of Colorado. And they’re just doing really, really well
now. And it’s because there are now, just on the
ground advocates and champions at campuses, librarians, and technologists, faculty, who
are doing the real hard work. And so, from my perspective at this very high
level, one of my jobs is to A help policymakers that are interested in funding and promoting
student-centered open work, help them to do it in a way that supports what you all do
on campuses. To do it in a way that is sustainable over
time, and to help them understand the invisible labour that goes on at campuses. So, one of the big questions and I got this
today, actually, from a legislator at a meeting. Now that we’re doing all this OER at our campus,
we’re seeing that our bookstore is getting less traffic. So, now we’ve got this extra expense over
here. And so, my job is to help them through some
of those questions and really help guide the discussion to something that focuses on students
and ways that we can all make this work across. Because legislators and policymakers and presidents,
they all want to do what’s right for students. When I meet with them, I just see this really
genuine care and love for trying to do something great for the world, and especially help campuses
and education. So, giving them the education they need to
do open and to really support the work on your campuses, help them understand the invisible
labour that you all do. And also, it’s good for you all to understand
what happens behind the scenes at that high-level state policy level. Thank you, Tanya. And now, I’ll hand things over to Carla. Hi, can you hear me? Yeah. Okay great. So, when I was presented with this topic idea,
I think one of the things that really struck me is invisible labour in the library in general. Thinking about when patrons encounter a book
or a film in the library and they think oh, it’s just there. Not realising the selection decision or the
acquisition or the cataloguing. And the way the invisible labour that we all
do, we can use that to kick off a conversation about invisible labour tied to OER. So, a little bit about what I do, my job title
is coordinator of scholarly communications for the Miami University libraries, and that’s
Miami in Ohio, not sunny Florida. Part of my job is being a copyright librarian,
but a significant part of my job probably 50% of my time is helping support our OER
and affordable learning initiatives here at Miami University. I love doing this. I am part of a campus wide committee, that
I co-chair with another librarian and our associate provost on campus that kind of leads
up these initiatives for the whole entire campus. We have three grant programmes tied to OER
and we have two what we call affordable learning grants. It focuses more on the affordability piece
than maybe necessarily the creation of use or use of truly open educational resources. So, even though I am one of three co-chairs
on this group, by nature of my job responsibilities, I am doing a lot of the frontline things. Like hosting what we call our OER explore
grant programme, which is kind of like the OTN’s introduction to open education model,
where they come in and we talk a little bit about affordable education, we do some hands-on
work with some actual OER. We have our OER adopt programme, which is
exactly what it sounds, grant provided for faculty who want to adopt an OER. And we are launching our OER create programme,
to help support faculty who want to create and write their own OER. I couldn’t be any more excited about this. So, while I love doing all of these, there’s
all this invisible labour tied to it. So, with the OER explore, it’s preparing the
call for applications, because we have people apply for this programme, because there is
a grant fund tied to that. It’s reviewing these applications, it’s printing
off an OER in their subject area, and I say this with love in my heart, chasing faculty
down afterwards to make sure they are posting their review in a timely manner. Most are very good about it, but sometimes
it’s a little bit like herding cats. With OER adopt, I help review the grant applications
before they even come in. I have meetings with faculty to help them
identify an OER. I’m part of the group that then reviews these
applications, but then even today, a good part of my day was unexpectedly spent on working
with a couple of faculty who completed their grant requirements, now that we’re at the
end of the semester. Our semester just ended last week. So, it’s that mentality that you come into
work and you’re like, “Oh I’m going to get these things done today.” But instead, you end up hopping over and doing
things and that’s the way things happen. But the invisible labour about now, when do
I find time to do the things that I’m doing? Or I think one of the best examples I can
think of with invisible labour is tied to our OER create programme. So, Miami University is beyond excited to
be one of the founding members of the OTN publishing coop. And we had a great time going through the
training last year. And initially we thought with OER create not
only would I be the project manager for these projects, but I would do a lot of the things
in the background to actually help facilitate the publication of these. Because I do have a little, little bit of
publishing experience, as a journal editor. And it was really interesting, because we
got about three-quarters of the way through this training. And I remember after the training session
I went to my boss’ office and I said, “We’re in trouble.” And it has nothing to do with the OTN publishing
coop programme, which is phenomenal, where we were trouble is me realising there is no
way I can do all this publishing work on my own as a one-woman shop, unless I stop doing
all the other things I’m doing and do nothing but this. And I said, “I need you, my bosses, to make
a decision. Do you want me to become the OER publishing
librarian for two or three years, which I will gladly do and be in my office literally
constantly doing all the work to publish these? Or do you want me to continue what I am doing,
which is to be out on the frontlines and engaging with our faculty and getting people involved
with these?” And in the end, Miami University said, “You
know what? We’re probably going to end up having Scribe
help do a lot of this work so that instead of you being invisible in your office, that
you are out on the frontlines continuing to engage with people.” And I would be invisible in that role, because
I would be in my office, even though it’s a very nice office, but losing that engagement. But I think it was that moment my recommendations
for the people here is communicate, communicate, communicate. You can never over communicate. And it’s one thing I’ve learned not only as
a librarian. But I was a department head in my previous
job. And I would always tell my staff, “If you’re
in a rocky place, if things are going on, talk to me, it’s my responsibility to do whatever
I can to help you out. But I can only help you out if I know what’s
going on.” And I think that’s why I learned very early
on. Whether it’s the OER explore and oh my gosh,
do we just have a student employee who can run over to the copy centre and get these
bound copies of these OER for me, because I just don’t have 15 minutes to do that today? Or the very frank discussion we had about
OER create, saying, “I could do this, if you want me to give up all these other responsibilities.” Is just saying, “Here is what I am doing. Here are the initiatives I am involved with.” Making it very clear, here’s how much time
is involved with this, just the consultation to go talk with faculty. That can be an hour out of my time, going
over to their office, coming back, sending follow up emails. There’s a few more hours maybe looking around
for open educational resources that they can use in their class. So, just very clearly communicating to your
supervisors, “Here’s the different ways that I am engaging with these.” And realistically here’s how much of my time
that it takes. And then, too saying to your boss, “If you
want me to be doing more, what am I going to give up in order to be able to do more? Or how can we de-prioritise some other things?” And I think too saying that I’m willing to
be a partner. I’m willing to be part of this. I am willing to give it everything I have. But here is what I need from you as my boss. And that can be just moral support, that great
job, you’re doing well every now and then. That can be shifting around priorities in
your job on what you’re going to focus on. Maybe giving away some of your responsibilities
to somebody else. It can also be a financial investment, and
I don’t necessarily mean more money, because we would all love more money. But I think if you can be going to your boss
and saying, “There are things that I can engage with and this may cost money to send me to
a conference or to allow me to participate in this training. But here’s the value that we’re going to get
out of this. And if you want me to be able to fully support
this, I would appreciate getting the support from you.” And I’ve been very fortunate here at Miami
University, my fabulous dean here in the library, the times that I’ve gone to him and said,
“You know, I would like to travel and be a part of this. And here’s the value I will get out of it,
and here’s how it will help me do my job better.” He has been very supportive financially, helping
find some resources for me to get there for many of these. So, I think my recommendations are just communicate
to your colleagues what you’re doing, to your boss what you’re doing, and then having that
conversation together about how you are going to prioritise, especially that invisible labour
that people see the end results but they don’t see the time that you put in, maybe on your
own. And then, asking for what you need, whether
it’s that re-prioritisation of your time, or more support from your colleagues, or maybe
I need some money so I can go participate in this training, so I have more knowledge
to do this better. Thanks, Carla. And Matt, we’re going to turn things over
to you. We can see your screen, but we can’t hear
you yet. I’m mute. There we go. Sorry about that. Yeah, sorry. Hey, I have slides. I don’t know why, I like slides. So, as my intro mentioned, I’m an OER author,
so I think a good question to ask is are authors visible? And to who? So, some of the things that I learned is that
for students in my class where my book was used, I am visible to those students. But I am not really visible to even students
at my own university, who I am not teaching who also use this textbook. So, if I write a textbook, other people in
my department, my colleagues will usually take notice, if they’re not particularly enamoured
with the other alternative, the traditional alternatives. They might use it. And to students in their classroom, I’m just
another author. So, it doesn’t really so much matter to them. I found that within my department, I am pretty
visible as somebody who does this stuff, as the person who might be bringing up OER at
a faculty meeting. Or as we’re doing in our undergraduate programme,
we’re doing some course redesign and curriculum redevelopment, I’m the person talking about
OER and textbook costs and all that stuff inside of that room. So, it is sort of visible to them, and I’ve
gotten a lot of good collaborations and partnerships out of that stuff. Where it is a little bit more questionable
is whether it is visible for promotion. As I understand it, OER and tenure promotion
is a thing that’s talked about a lot, but I don’t know that there have been a lot of
good examples for what to do although I’m still looking for those. So, I could be wrong on that. I think for myself I think if my open textbook
were to count towards tenure and promotion it would mostly be because people have no
idea what an open textbook is. That if they learned that no, I copied and
pasted half of that book, and a lot of it is not original scholarship, they might actually
be a little bit more unclear, than just like, “Oh okay, you published something with somebody. Okay, that’s fine.” Grants help, and one of the things that I
stole from a Rebus Community textbook was to track adoptions. And having a survey even at the beginning
of the textbook on the landing page. I haven’t really followed up with those people,
but I do get at least within the first semester this is how much people have seen this, how
many students have used it, which has been really, really helpful in just putting this
forward as a project people might be able to understand. And I think my first strategy towards making
this stuff visible was to engage in OER research. So, basically publications for me, I have
very little publication requirement. I am at a teaching focused school that likes
to do some research, but I’m pretty far from an R1. So, studying teaching, studying pedagogy was
a natural fit. I have ample access to that population, and
there are tonnes of great resources out there. And I think within just my own school, the
scholarship of teaching is something that is included in our teaching requirements,
that’s not actually student evaluations of teaching, which are not a particularly useful
measure of anything. So, the process of engaging in OER research
to the extent those things are experimental can actually give you other data that can
talk about things that maybe student evaluations of teaching miss. So, you can not only point to I got a 4.2
out of 5 but also students talked about how much it meant to me, that they did X, Y or
Z. I think that’s pretty helpful. So, where I ran into a little bit of a challenge
was all right, so I became an OTN campus leader. And so, I was doing some training work and
some advocacy work on the campus. I was also doing some training at schools
of social work across the state of Virginia. I got a small grant to do some of that stuff,
literally I had a roadshow presentation where I came and set up my stuff and talked about
OER with social work professors. But I’m not a librarian, and OER is not
part of my job description at all. And so, I think I sort of conceived of campus
leader, it’ll probably fit somewhere under service. I’m probably not necessarily the best person
to talk about tenure or promotion requirements. Because even though I’ve read them, I’m still
not 100% sure of where anything fits, and they didn’t really set me up with a mentor
or somebody who’s going to guide me through that process. So, I’m just feeling it out. But yeah, it’s a lot less visible of a service
position than you might ordinarily think. Luckily, this is something that other presenters
have echoed, especially Carla, that having an open-minded administration was fantastic. The chair of my department was very open to
this and very open to the fact that once I heard about OER, I did a 180 from what they
hired me to do research on. Fine. And also, a dean who was willing to put me
on loan to essentially the provost. So, in Virginia, they passed a bill not this
past legislative session, but the one before that, that public universities have to have
some kind of OER policy. And that’s it, that was the whole, that’s
the end of the bill. So, in some campuses it is one line, saying,
“OER is awesome.” That’s paraphrasing. In other campuses there was some guiding documents
put out by SHEF-V, which is the southern version of WICHE (laughs) that we heard about earlier. And so, they put out some sample documents. Anyway, so our provost basically took that
and created this OER committee. He took people from each college, obviously
I volunteered for my college, the college was just happy to have somebody do that. And what ended up coming out was an idea that
we needed to be the people who were implementing OER course labelling who were creating faculty-based
trainings in concert with our faculty development people. And then, just doing the nitty gritty invisible
work of doing one on one help. So, if somebody wants to adopt OER that they
don’t want to buy into the adaptive courseware for an OpenStax textbook, who’s going to help
them create stuff? I’m not an instructional designer, but I can
talk about the permissions and responsibilities, who you might want to talk to. We’re a pretty lean university, so we do have
instructional designers, but nobody who’s really working in open. And then, also just raising their profile
afterwards as well. So, to try and make their work more visible
to campus. So, if you have people who are adopting OER,
creating OER, or who are working on textbook affordability, even if they’re not doing open
itself, raising their profile and trying to tell their stories as well is really great. So, advice I was given, which I am very glad
I did is to get a course release for this stuff. So, as the chair of the OER committee, I get
some time off each semester to actually do some of that stuff. And also, I think like Carla said, I ended
up dropping my responsibilities or transitioning out of the role where I was the coordinator
for our online Masters’ programme. And it seemed that was going to be way too
much stuff. The cool stuff is you get some new OER friends,
you get other people who you had no idea were working on this stuff who are actually working
on this stuff. This is my first year as a campus leader,
so everything’s new. And yeah, just taking advantage of policy
changes, making your work visible to upper administration. OER is on their radar, our provost would forward
me stuff from publications that provosts read which I didn’t really realise were a thing
until now. But this is now on their radar and talking
about it in terms of the issues that we’re facing, like retention or changing student
body, cost savings to students is great. I also see a lot of value in making this invisible
work open to other people by sharing the stuff that OER committee members, OER advocates,
OER trainers do more broadly, I think we’re going to open up an OSF to IO page and open
up as much as we can for the stuff that we’re doing. Just so that other people don’t have to reinvent
the wheel again. Thanks, Matt. And thanks to our three guests, Tanya, Carla,
and Matt for introducing some different strategies they’ve used around the issue of invisible
labour in OER. As Matt was talking, a couple of questions
came in on the chat and so, this is open to anybody in the call who would like to chime
in. So, Amy Hofer is multitasking it sounds like
from a bus. And her question is around the term invisible
labour and whether it refers to labour that’s invisible because it’s gendered. And if folks are thinking about this issue
along the lines of feminist analysis by using the term in this context. So, Sybil who has the following question said
that she’s definitely thinking that this is gendered from her experience on her campus. I think there’s probably many in this call
who would agree that often it’s marginalised people who are doing invisible work and volunteering
for it or having it show up on their desk. Is there anyone else who would like to address
Amy’s question? Or explore it? I can jump in a little briefly. I think Amy, we did talk about this a little
more in part one and it was raised a couple of the things like I think this might have
been Ali who was talking about this enthusiasm that you have to show when you’re constantly
working with people and that that’s often that emotional labour is expected more of
women in the workplace, generally. And so, it’s that same pattern is replicated
within OER in a big way. And then, as Karen mentioned, that it’s often
people who are on the frontlines of seeing the value for students, who really put the
care into the work that they do that does generally, that is gendered, and it’s also
more common in all sorts of marginalised communities. As I say, I refer back to that one, there
was some interesting discussion of those that we’d love to keep going as well. And then, I’ll pause there and see if any
of the guests want to dive on this, want to jump in a little. Zoe, this is Sarah Cohen, I’m sorry I’m not
videoing, but I did just want to say I think that that’s such an interesting question for
some research in the OER space. And I’m going to take a second to highlight
the OER fellows’ programme that John Hilton runs out of the open education group. I think that that would be a really interesting
topic for deeper exploration in OER. So, if someone, Amy, wants to take that up,
I would really be interested in learning more about that. Yeah, I absolutely agree, it feels like the
kind of thing I’ve heard and been a part of conversations about. But there’d be real value in taking that approach
to it and surfacing more of it, because that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. There are so many different parts of what
is happening in the OER community, both the active work that we’re doing on campus. But also, the expectation for the people involved
that could all do with more research and analysis and understanding so that we know what’s happening
to the people involved in this work as we move forward and as we’re building this system
together. Okay, Sybil also had a broad question about
basically getting open education started in her state. So, Tanya maybe you have some recommendations
as Sybil is in North Dakota. So, she asks how can I, a lowly faculty member
who already uses lots of emotional labour to rally the troops on my own campus, get
something started in North Dakota like Oregon has, Open Oregon without putting another gorilla
of invisible labour on my shoulders? Okay, so first of all, if I know what institution
you’re at, I can connect you with a whole bunch of people. And if you’re in North Dakota, there’s already
been a lot done. When I first started as an OER person, I was
at the North Dakota University System Office, which is the governing body for all of the
institutions in this state and it intersects with the legislature. And I contacted the Open Textbook Network
and a lot of the things that I’ve come to now are because of the great connections that
I made with all of you, with SPARC, with others in the OER community. I was an OER fellow with John Hilton, as Sarah
mentioned. And so, I just would say don’t do this all
on your own. So, I feel the question itself was just very
heavy and like you’ve got so much responsibility or like this is this huge lift. When actually, there are literally thousands
of us out there, who have already lifted. And if we all do it together, it’s so much
easier to accomplish something. In the state of North Dakota, we’ve got the
first audited OER initiative report from any state in the United States. And North Dakota saved anywhere between, his
estimates were very low compared to institution estimates. But institutions are estimating between $10
million and up, and others, his direct count of every OER penny was somewhere around the
$2 million mark. At least that was a very conservative estimate. So, there’s just a lot already happening,
and I’d be happy to help you connect with other advocates in your region. But for anybody who’s on the call that feels
like this is their responsibility, or that they have to do this all on their own. just I don’t want to say that’s a gendered
thing in itself, but perhaps you feel like you have to do all the things, right? And you don’t have to do all the things. There are a lot of people who can help you. And as women maybe, if we’re talking in a
gendered term that connects to the last question is that it’s okay to ask for help. Let some of it go. Not think you have to do everything. You can just do one small, tiny thing, and
it still helps the big lift. So, if that gives you some background. Thanks, Tanya, and thanks for mentioning the
Open Textbook Network. Sarah also mentioned that North Dakota is
a member. And listening to you just reminded me that’s
why we’re all here together in this Office Hours call, that’s why we’re partnered with
the Rebus Community, because we’re all in this space. We definitely want to be here for one another
and support one another. So, if you are feeling like how am I going
to do this all by myself? Hopefully, what you’re hearing is you don’t
have to. People have walked this road before. They can share resources and tips and you
can come to these calls and find a network of people who want to support your work. Can I add something on to that? Sure. Just to say that I’m going to go a little
off beat but let me finish this thought here. You can do some of this all on yourself, but
it’s little, tiny, itty bitty, baby things. It’s just talking about it, getting people
interested, clearing up some of the common misconceptions related to OER. But I think use that to put out your feelers
to find out who can partner with you. Not just going to conferences or engaging
in opportunities like these about oh those people were interested, too. Can I reach out to them to see what they’re
doing? Can I get some ideas? Can I borrow things from them? But especially your faculty, too. I think sometimes it’s one thing for us to
say it with our institution of the library that this is important, that we need to be
doing more to support this. But then, when it comes from people outside
the library, when faculty are coming back to the dean or director of the library, saying,
“Hey I had this great conversation with so and so about this. What more can the library do to support this?” It can help emphasise to those people who
can help you then prioritise more time in your job to do this. So, there are little, tiny, itty bitty, baby
things you can do on your own. But just from somebody who tries to do everything
on their own, because they feel like they should, then going back to emotional labour,
you will burn yourself out so quick. And it’s open, the whole idea of this is sharing. And to date, I have not met one single librarian
who I’ve reached out to who’s been like, “No, I’m not going to partner with you, go away.” Instead they’re more like another ally, “Fantastic,
what can we do to address this together?” Or steal from a copyright librarian, steal
don’t infringe on copyright, but reach out to other institutions and say, “We did this
with Texas ANM. Hey, you guys did this great student recognition
award. Could I possibly steal all the information
you have, including your application form for that award?” And they were like, “Absolutely, here you
go.” And we made it our own here. But those connections are so valuable, so
definitely be on the look out. I would be shocked if you would not find people
in your state who would be willing to partner with you. Yeah. Just to throw into that. Yeah, I think once you start doing things
in OER, like the recognition and stuff sort of comes. So, if you put out, even if it’s something
relatively small, just that forward momentum, if there’s really, truly nobody else on your
campus who is there to do that work, by doing that work, you can be that person. And that can be as small or as big as you
need it to. And I think making friends with librarians,
people who are more familiar with the OER picture more broadly within your state, I
know that’s really been helpful for me. Because those people really showed me this
is a larger thing. I also think if you are not a librarian, that
making your thing visible to your profession can be a thing. And because first I know it may seem strange
to people here, but textbook costs, copyright, not usually a thing that’s talked about. It may not be a problematized thing within
your profession. So, you’re proposing OER as a solution, a
solution to what? Like what? Everything works great, it’s good. So, I think that’s also a way to do that. Matt, I think this next question is in response
to something you mentioned in your presentation. So, both Wilhelmina and Tricia are very interested
in knowing what provosts read. (Laughter) If anyone else knows. I really don’t know. (Laughter) If anyone has tips or ideas. Yeah. Hang on, let me pull that up. I will pull up all of my, I’m not sharing
them with you. (Laughs) So, they read press releases from
publishers. They read stuff from the bookstore. They read, I don’t know where she found this,
but our legislature passed an initiative to label no and low-cost textbooks I’m not really
sure where she read that. Inside Higher Ed was a good one. And universitybusiness.com. What was that last one? Universitybusiness.com not a place that I
had heard of before, but yeah. Thanks, does anyone else have any thoughts
on how to essentially get their provost’s attention or get this issue in front of them? I do. (Laughs) I think that provosts are interested
in best practice in other institutions and they also tend to look to institutions. Can you hear me? Yeah. Okay. They tend to look to institutions that they
aspire to be like. And so, if you’re at a regional four-year
institution, with a student base of around 2,000 students, that provost might be aspiring
to be more like the R1 with 10,000 students. Or like a neighbouring school or they have
a network of peer institutions. And so, if you’re interested in inciting the
interest of your provost around OER, send them information about the awesome work that’s
happening at a peer institution or another institution neighbouring that they look up
to. Even community college provosts are interested
in what community colleges are doing in other states. And so, I think that giving them examples
of what can be done, what is being done, and showing how much attention and positive reinforcement
that gets for the institution is really enticing for a leader. I think that goes back to what Carla was saying
as well, of looking at other people who have been successful in this work and borrowing
from them or stealing from them with permission. Whether it is the conversations that they’ve
had with their provosts in order to make the case for OER and things like that. I think that’s a really great way that you
can draw from what other people have done already as well. I just want to say also when you’re talking
to an administrator, administrators have certain things that they need to accomplish. So, starting with open pedagogy or starting
with something that’s really dense and difficult is not the place to start. You start with something like, “Hey, if we
can reduce the cost of attendance for all of our students”, this is a great sell to
your boss, who makes the president look great. And it’s something you could put on a billboard
outside of town to attract more students. And these are the things that resonate with
provosts. So, starting with something super dense that
just doesn’t, and really academic, a lot of they just need the provost speak. I don’t know how to explain. You’re talking to a different audience, right? And Michelle noted in the chat as well that
they also listen to student government, and so that outreach can pay off in that way. Okay, the next question is about incorporating
OER into a job description and if anyone has advice on how to proceed? I’ll pitch in there. I think it depends. So, in my previous job I was also coordinator
of scholarly communications which we know is an umbrella term for a lot of things. There, I was mainly the copyright librarian,
but I was doing little bits of OER work here and there as I was able. So, for me, there it was including it in my
annual report. Making it very clear to my boss that I’m doing
this and that there’s more of the interest in this on campus. And we’ve had these conversations about it. And do we want to prioritise this within the
scope of the job that I’m doing by formalising it as part of my job description? Now, that said, I know job descriptions can
be hard to rewrite. When they are actually easiest to rewrite
is when there is nobody in that position. So, when I left that position in Colorado,
one of my recommendations to my boss as I was leaving is if you do rewrite this position,
I would encourage you to include OER or affordable learning in there. So that this person is empowered to prioritise
more with that. In my current job, it is written into my job
description, but I think maybe it’s one or two sentences out of a page and a half long
job description. But it’s recognising that there’s many different
things in my job description but having that constant conversation with my boss about which
things are we prioritising every year. Or having that conversation with my supervisors,
that I am more than happy to become the OER publishing librarian for three years. But if you’re going to have me do that, we
need to communicate this to the campus, because I’m not going to be able to offer all of these
other services that I’m doing. So, whether it’s formal or informal, again,
having that conversation with your supervisors about the work that you’re doing. But then, also making sure that you’re communicating
that out as you are taking on these new responsibilities. Not only so that people understand how you
can better help them if they’re interested in these things. But then, maybe if you’re backing off in some
other places, letting people know “I may still be able to help you, but not as much as before”. Or “I’m so delighted you’re interested in
that I have a colleague who’s taken over those responsibilities. Let me connect you with them.” Thanks, Carla. I have a question about quantifying the amount
of work done. So, Matt mentioned tracking adoptions helps. You mentioned in talking with your supervisor
about trying to sum up all of the work that you’re doing and the trade-offs that you’d
have to make if you continued to do that work. Do you think it’s an effective strategy to
track your hours for a time, in particular OER focused work? Yes and no. And I might actually say and maybe this is
a touchy subject, although I think it ties in. I track my hours I spend outside of work,
working on this stuff. So, for example, I’m going to go home tonight
and work on an OER affordable learning thing, because it needs to get done by the end of
this week and tonight is the only time I’m going to be able to do it. There was a time about a year ago, where for
two weeks because we had something happen last minute, not only was I spending almost
every hour on the job but every hour in the evening, and every hour over the weekend working
on OER stuff. Some of that is on me, for working those outside
hours, for choosing to do that. Some of it is wanting to get it done. Realising that maybe I didn’t have to do it
in that way, but that I had my own motivations for helping support this person in the project. Some of it is it’s kind of the way my job
functions and being salaried you realise there are some hours you work 40 hours a week, there
are some hours you work 50. But that was one of the more persuasive conversations
I had with my supervisors is saying that I’m giving up my nights and weekends to work on
these things and while I am happy to go to bat from time to time, this is not sustainable
for me to give up these extra hours of my life continually to be able to do this. So, we need to either look at different ways
of me doing this. Some ways to maybe get me some help, like
with student employees helping with these things. Or again, the rearrangement, the reprioritisation
of the things that I’m doing in my job. So, now maybe I’m 75% affordable learning
OER librarian and only 25% copyright librarian instead of both. So, I would say the most persuasive arguments
I sometimes make are that invisible labour that we’re doing at home. Those hours I’m spending outside of my office
doing this work. I wonder if those are— Those are great suggestions. I would also add if folks on the call are
interested in writing job descriptions, I think we’ve had some recent new programmes
that have come up to help do training for open educational resources advocates, librarians. I teach with the SPARC open education leadership
programme. The Open Textbook Network has a training for
librarianship in open. And we also have a Creative Commons certificate
that has come up. And I would just caution folks who are writing
job descriptions not to make those certificates or job descriptions, those particular programmes
as a baseline. But maybe saying in there that you’ve expanded
into or you have shown proficiency of open educational resources. So that as this field evolves, as a discipline,
as an academic pursuit, that we’re all free to continue creating it. I feel like overall we’re trying things to
do more education, to improve competency, to show that we’re leaders in the area, while
we’re still learning it. So, I would just, I heard talking about working
these additional hours. And that shouldn’t be an expectation of the
job description that someone would have to do a whole lot of additional work to either
become competent or to do the job functions that they were hired to do. So, I want everyone to get the training they
need, and I love seeing OER librarian ads. I’m also cautious about what does that entail
and what were they required to do prior to learning, and can they continue to learn on
the job? It’s just a lot of considerations for the
actual humans doing the work. Tanya, this is Sarah. I couldn’t agree more and I’m so glad you
said that. I was actually going to pop in and say I think
connecting back to the theme of invisible labour. And I wanted to take a minute to just say
that I have a concern in general, of those of us that are passionate about this work
that are often the advocates and the champions for this work. And to go back to I think Sybil’s point earlier
in the call around feeling like we’re the ones that have to carry this forward on our
own in our institutions. But I really want to stress that I think I
hate, and Carla, please forgive me, I don’t mean to call you out here. But I hate to hear about people that are doing
40 hours at work and then another 20 or 30 hours on their own time when they go home. I just want to remind people we are people. (Laughs) And we are allowed to put our work
down. And we are allowed to nourish ourselves and
take care of ourselves in order to have the wherewithal to continue on to do this work. I’m not saying don’t work from home. I’m just saying I think that the expectation
that we need to continue to push on all fronts at all times even in those times when we are
outside of work. I just think that’s something else that contributes
to this concept of invisible labour and warrants careful consideration about burn out and about
what are our goals as a movement and as educators in what are we conveying when we do that work? I just think that’s important. I think there’s this impatience that we all
have to have all the answers and do it all right now and it needs to be all done. There’s this giant race toward we need this
entire programme to be zero textbook cost tomorrow. And we really don’t. You can make it amazing. Those are all wonderful unicorn goals in the
sky that are so wonderful when you see them. However, small changes are still really, really
useful for our students. Absolutely. One book, one resource, one moment when you
can talk to someone who’s never heard of open before. Those are all wins toward the big goal. And also, just to say I think this goes to
the idea of the long game. We’re in this for a long game, it’s not a
sprint it’s a marathon. And I think that we as people that are doing
this work in trying to not only think about our programmes but very much to the point
about job descriptions. Thinking about how do we institutionalise
this work and make it part of the work of our institutions instead of just work that
I’m doing at home? These are the tactics of a bigger strategy. And how are we going to take this over time? And we have to be able to go over time and
that’s why I get so worried around us all working so much on this beyond what we already
do. Because I think we do need to consider how
we’re going to keep going. And I think I just want to also say bravo
for having calls like this, that allow people to voice these questions and concerns. This is part of that nourishment, so thank
you to Karen and to Apurva and to Zoe for hosting these calls, because I think it’s
so important that this allows people to talk about these issues in a way that does support
that struggle and that challenge. Thank you. I’m wondering if there’s a way that we can—this
is kind of a little off the topic. But perhaps would alleviate some of this pressure? And you talked about emotional labour and
the heaviness of doing such giant things. But I would love to see celebration of small
wins. Right? These moments when one faculty member who
just couldn’t even come to the session showed up. That’s a moment when we can celebrate something
together. Small wins toward open. I love somebody hash-tagged it already, which
is awesome. But can we celebrate these things, so that
we don’t all feel so responsible to make the whole world open? Which is what we all want, right? I think Lee’s hashtag small wins in the chat
is actually one great way to do that, because there’s also the conversation in the chat
about the power of social media that provosts are reading Twitter. That this is one way that we can connect and
find each other. So, hey, let’s give it a go, small wins. (Laughter) And see what we all come up with. It’s a great idea, especially if you are working
remotely, or if you do feel isolated, you’re maybe one of the few people on your campus
doing this work. Just being able to tell someone hey, I have
accomplished something wherever it falls on the spectrum of scale, size. So, this has been another great—Zoe. I’d like to jump in just with one point. Sorry, I’ve been trying to get in there, just
to add to what Sarah said, which I think is really important. Thank you for chiming in with that. And as we’re thinking about how you do OER
work, if we don’t figure out how to do it without there being those extra 20 or 30 hours
built in, we’re also excluding people from being able to do the work. That there are people with responsibilities
outside of their 40 hours that mean that they cannot commit. It goes back to Amy’s mention earlier, about
it being gendered, that the expectations on many women: for childcare, for family care,
for housework, all of that means that many of them don’t have the time to do all this
extra. So, all of us have to work out how to make
this sustainable and a viable option for everybody to be able to get involved in OER. Not just people who have the capacity to do
that extra work, that’s just a point I wanted to make. And I think again, to refer back to our previous
session, Monica spoke about this really well and some of the others, too. Okay, thank you, I just wanted to get that
in there. Yeah, well, it’s a good summary. We’re about out of time. We’re at the top of the hour, it’s been another
lively conversation. So, thank all of you for your questions in
the chat and that you’ve asked in person and the conversation that ensued. Please join me in thanking our guests, Tanya
Spilovoy, Carla Myers, and Matt DeCarlo for sharing their stories and strategies. And we hope to see you next month, when we’re
going to talk about the glamorous world of printing open textbooks and how it sounds
super simple, like don’t you just press a print button? Or hook up some print on demand service? But actually, it gets a little thorny. So, we’ll talk more about that next time. Until then, hashtag small wins. See you there. Thanks everyone. Thanks everyone so much.

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