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Auburn's University Writing Department Launches Open Educational Resource

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - University Writing here at Auburn University has released its new open educational resource, or OER, that contains a variety of worksheets and handouts on numerous writing-focused topics.

The link to the OER can be found here.

"We have long been known locally and nationally for our high-quality ePortfolio resources," says Christopher Basgier, director of University Writing. "I am excited that our OER includes an expanded menu of materials, and that these materials are accessibly for different users."

As well as resources on ePortfolios, the OER contains resources to help anyone with topics such as editing, proofreading, literature reviews, and more.

The OER is the product of a collaboration among University Writing, the Office of the Provost's Communication and marketing team, and the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM), that spanned over multiple years. Basgier and Amy Cicchino, associate director of University Writing, initially conceptualized the OER when they realized faculty and students could benefit from the many materials University Writing had created for its workshops over the years. Marisa Singh, communications and marketing specialist with the Office of the Provost, coordinated the project and recruited John Walker, information technology specialist with the OCM, to build the OER infrastructure.

After the design was laid out, University Writing Graduate Program Assistant Katharine Brown served as project manager, and oversaw the efforts of the newly-assembled team to work on document preparation and publication: Miller Writing Center Consultant Ved Soni and University Writing Undergraduate Program Assistants Heesun Yoon and Mark Smith.

“I enjoyed working with Ved, Mark, and Heesun to prepare hundreds of documents for publication to the OER,” Brown said. “As a result of their efforts, writers and educators both within and outside the university will be able to utilize University Writing’s materials in accessible formats.”

Katharine, Mark, and Heesun plan to present this achievement during the 2022 Global Society for Online Literacy Educators Conference. In the conference abstract, they highlight how the OER process allowed them to "be active participants in the ongoing discussion of educational equity."

Not only are the resources of the OER beneficial for all regarding the materials presented, but the format was carefully considered to make sure it was accessible for anyone and everyone. Using the University Writing's Accessibility and Inclusion Guide, the OER team repackaged University Writing's workshop materials into a new template and checked all documents for accessible headings, alternative text, and high contrast colors. All resources are also available in Word and PDF versions to support users with different devices and communication needs. All materials include a Creative Commons license that allows for non-commercial recirculation and reuse with attribution. University Writing welcomes feedback via a survey at the top of the OER page.

Students who would like guidance on utilizing OER materials during the writing process are invited to make an appointment with the Miller Writing Center. Faculty who would like guidance on adapting OER materials for their courses are welcome to set up a consultation with Basgier or Cicchino.