OER Professional Development

Design and develop effective and engaging learning experiences, environments, resources, and assessments

MSed – Educational Design and Technology, Goal 2


This lesson plan was developed as a potential professional development series for faculty at Spring Arbor University. Utilizing a TPACK model of technology integration, it is designed to scaffold faculty from no knowledge of OER to publishing their own resources as part of a collaborative team over the course of 1-2 months.



This Professional Development will be provided to faculty at Spring Arbor University to educate them on the benefits of using Open Educational Resources (OER) in their courses, and to assist them in the selection, review, modification, creation and publication of the own OER materials. Provided in scaffolded segments over the course of one month, at the end of the PD cycle, interested faculty will have begun collaborating with others on campus (or beyond) to implement or publish their own OER. The PD is structured to increase the level of technology integration as learners progress—it seeks to not overwhelm them by not asking learners to utilize or master new technologies while still developing a foundational knowledge of the content.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this professional development, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the core characteristics of OER and how they are distributed
  • Effectively evaluate the quality of OER and select materials to integrate into online courses
  • Work collaboratively with peers to create and publish OER materials

Activity 1 – An Introduction to OER

The first activity is a direct-instruction focused module that provides faculty with a foundational knowledge of OER. This can be presented either as a face-to-face instruction, or as a series of brief videos or webinars, depending on the location and preference of the faculty group participating the PD.

In addition to the direct-instruction each group of participants will be provided with a Padlet board to take and share notes, record OER thoughts related to their specific discipline and begin the collaboration process with their colleagues. This can be done during this first activity, and will continue to provide the foundation for collaboration throughout. A direct collaboration tool is introduced early on to emphasize the collaborative nature of OER.

Learners can get feedback from two sources at this stage: if the training is provided either face-to-face or through a webinar, they can ask questions related to OER of the instructor, or begin to get preliminary feedback to their brainstorming sessions on the Padlet board.

Activity 2 – Explore Domain Specific OER

Armed now with a knowledge of what OER is, and some areas to find it, the next stage of this PD takes place as a collaborative exercise within the department. Participants will, over the course of 1-2 weeks, work to identify, research and select potential OER to integrate into their academic programs on campus. 

OER can be sourced from online repositories mentioned in the first session such as OERCommons, OpenStax, etc.). Participants can continue to add potential sources to their Padlet board to get feedback from colleagues. The instructor will monitor this board for any questions and chime in as necessary. At the end of this process, the team will have a selection of 1-2 specific OER that they would like to integrate into a future course. 

Activity 3 – Evaluation and Adaptation of OER

Applying knowledge from the initial instruction, a fundamental principle of OER is that they can be changed or ‘remixed’ in order to suit the needs of the individual or group using them. In Weeks 2-4 (or longer if necessary), the team will use a collaborative annotation tool, such as Hypothesis.is to collaboratively annotate, discuss changes to, adapt or otherwise remix their chosen OER into a format that is more appropriate for their learning environment. 

This can include adding/removing sections, changing the presentation of materials, incorporating different media elements, or anything else the group deems necessary. They will be providing their own feedback at this point—as a non-content expert, the instructor will be of little assistance unless questions arise as to what can or cannot be done with a particular OER. 

Activity 4 – Share the OER

As the final activity in the PD, once the faculty group has composed and launched their OER in their course, they will continue to serve as a resource for the next group that goes through the training. The instructor will work with them to get their OER published in a repository such as OER commons. 

The group itself will record or present a brief overview of their work for the beginning of the next OER PD workshop. Here they can answer questions about what hurdles they ran into, what was valuable about the process, and what may help future groups. If possible one member of the group will serve as a ‘faculty advisor’ for the next group. This serves two purposes—giving feedback on the OER PD and how it can be improved, and providing the next faculty group a peer that understands their unique struggles as an academic department.

Technology Integration Rationale

This plan was based on the TPACK model of technology integration—looking at the content, pedagogy, and technology and how those areas overlap. This model was chosen for this professional development plan because of the natural overlap of the content and the technology. OER itself is a technology focused content area—collaboratively created and shared, open source, academic resources like OER couldn’t even exist without a strong technology component. 

After that, it was simply a matter of finding a way to blend the pedagogy with the other two. Then it hit me—the collaborative nature of the project was staring me in the face. The foundation of OER is openness and working together, so that’s how the pedagogy should be based. After a brief period of direct instruction everything else in this PD is done as a collaborative activity using technology and collaboration tools—and there’s even a component of that early on. 

Specific examples of these tools include Padlet for collaboration during the direct instruction portion of the PD. This helps to ensure that even though the primary goal of this section is to inform and provide a foundation, learners can already begin collaborating with one another, right there in the session as they are taking notes. If the session is delivered asynchronously, the possibilities for this collaboration increase even more—learners can pause the presentation to reflect and take more detailed notes in the Padlet for their colleagues to review. 

In the next stage, using Hypothesis.is to collaborate and annotate the chosen OER text is another type of close integration between pedagogy, technology and content. OER are created (often over long physical distances) by experts. Being able to collaborate, summarize, share notes, change, and edit, while maintaining document integrity is a necessary piece of creating OER, only possible though these real-time collaboration tools.

By integrating collaborative technology tools early on, it encourages participants to share their information and thoughts, and share them early and often. This gets them into the intellectual mindset of OER, and mentally prepares them for sharing their work to the world for reuse and remixture later on. The content is dependent on technology, the technology informs the pedagogy, and the pedagogy reinforces the content.

Now, SAMR or TIM could have been used to develop this professional development, but it would have lost that tight integration between pedagogy, content, and technology. By integrating the three models together, it helps to provide a holistic approach to the professional development. If I would have approached it with a SAMR model I likely would have simply tried to replace existing collaboration tools, or current content repositories with different ones, and either augment or reframe the task. By using TPACK, it helped me to closely fit the different tasks together and help ensure they all served the entire package from start to finish.