The Open Road: Reflections on OER

   Books are weapons

Welcome to OER: A blog for the openers

In 2012 I started my first ever teaching gig as an adjunct at Blue Ridge Community College. In the Spring I joined the first cohort of the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant (2013) and the next year I was also part of the second cohort.

When I first started working with OERs three years ago I had to google the term. When I first attended a Richard Sebastian chat on OERs I realized that my understanding of OERs was fairly off (I thought of them as hyper links and nothing more). But then Richard, Kim Thanos, and  David Wilely (Kim & David are from Lumen Learning, with whom VCCS is partnering on this wild ride of open textbooks) took our cohort on a day long adventure into the imaginative yet practical world of OERs, and soon I’d developed a massive, organized Excel spreadsheet of English OERs that I had collated in hopes of transforming them into my college’s default textbook. Lamentably, Blue Ridge chose not to hire me for a long-term appointment and I had to leave my project behind (although I hear it has been passed along to other colleges, so hopefully it continues to exist in new forms).

Now that I am at Woodbridge, my new goals for this OER odyssey include:

  1. continuing to develop my ENG 111 and ENG 112 courses in the OER model as well as to answer important philosophical questions about OER use (for example, how do Fair Use and OER co-exist for educators?).
  2. deepening my understanding of OERs in order to better serve not only Woodbridge and NVCC, but also the other colleges located in the VCCS.
  3. advocating for my OER-inclined colleagues across the VCCS as part of my role on the VCCS OER Leadership Team

The purpose of this blog is to reflect openly and honestly on the process of going OER. Please email me ( questions you have about the OER process and I will be happy to answer them here (as best I can).


Gratitude goes to Professor and Shepherdess Cheryl Huff for the inspired title to this blog.