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Majors & Degrees

Mary Francis publishes book on Open Educational Resources

March 23, 2021

Mary Francis recently had a book on Open Educational Resources (OER) published through the College Library Information on Policy and Practice (CLIPP) publishing program.

Books published through CLIPP are a series of monographs, or written studies of a single subject, put out by the College Library section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

“Basically, the publication series takes a deep look at policies or issues that affect colleges and small universities,” explained Francis, a reference instruction librarian and associate professor.

The monographs start with a literature review that examines prior research on the topic. The review is then followed by a survey that goes out to college and small university libraries on the topic. It includes the survey and a discussion of the responses. Finally, a selection of artifacts, which can be used as examples for other libraries, are included.

Francis’ monograph focuses on OER, which are free educational materials that are used in place of purchased textbooks and other course materials. Across higher education there has been a push for increased use of OER.

“In order to promote OER adoption among faculty members, institutions have implemented a variety of programs,” Francis said. “This book looks at how libraries have supported these programs through educational opportunities, listings of OER resources, financial support, and development of new OER.”

Utilizing OER offers several benefits to students, Francis explained. It removes the cost of textbooks and other course materials, reducing how much college students spend. According to the College Board the estimated cost of books and supplies for students each year is $1,298. OER initiatives often allow for a more student-centered approach in teaching. Faculty are able to consider what information is most important for their course when selecting OER materials.

“Rather than building the course around a textbook, they are able to find textbook components for the topics they want to cover,” she said.

Francis’ book is for librarians who are at institutions that have started OER projects on their campuses or who are planning to start one. Some of the artifacts will also help other administrators of OER projects as they lay out the structure of such initiatives.

“The examples of things that have been done and ways to structure OER initiatives will help others as they develop their own initiatives,” Francis said.

Mary Francis earned her master’s in library and information science from the University of Iowa. She is currently pursuing an EdD in educational administration from the University of South Dakota where she also earned a master’s degree in technology for education and training. Francis has authored several peer reviewed articles. This is her second monograph published by ACRL.

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