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Open Educational Resources (OER)

A guide to educational material that are freely available to use, adapt, share, and reuse.

Funded Projects

Anna Borovskaya-Ellis, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

“Our project seeks to fill a perennial need in language instruction while working within the Open Educational Resource sphere to contribute to Russian classrooms inside and outside of UVA. We aim to create linguistically appropriate and culturally relevant open educational resources for First-Year Russian courses (RUSS 1010 and 1020). Our authentic and engaging interactive videos, vocabulary presentations, and grammar reviews are being created with specific grammatical and cultural goals in mind and allow our students to work with level-appropriate, contemporary resources that reflect modern Russian lexicon and style. We plan to turn this collection of materials into a full-fledged, digital textbook replacement for our students to ease a significant financial burden that buying textbooks imposes on them.”

Stella Mattioli, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

“Resources currently available for the study of Italian do not comprehensively reflect the reality of Italian culture and society. This project will fill this gap with open educational resources that show students how Italian society is changing and evolving. Authentic videos and other inclusive material will be included in the Italian language syllabi for first- and second-year courses (ITAL 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020), allowing the students to learn the language by exploring diverse topics pertaining to the reality of life in Italy.”

Emily Scida, Kate Neff and Matthew Street, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

“This project has two goals; the first is to move online materials for our recently developed 6-week non-credit refresher course SPAN 160 (Elementary Spanish Online) from UVA Collab to Pressbooks, making them free and accessible to other language educators. The second is to develop additional modules and assignments, expanding the content for use in our SPAN 1060 (Accelerated Elementary Spanish) course offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer.”

Max Edelson, Department of History

The Emergence of America: Highlights from the Seymour I. Schwartz Collection of North America Maps, 1500-1800 is an online digital resource that provides a deeply researched introduction to an important new collection of maps at the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. It features scholarly summaries as well as engaging digital visualizations (created with the ArcGIS StoryMaps platform) of this collection’s most influential maps. This resource focuses on a selection of fifteen maps produced from 1511 to 1700 that transformed the idea of “America.” By studying these maps in this dynamic format, students and teachers will gain a new appreciation for the momentous changes that took place as Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans encountered one another in the “New World.” These digital exhibits will feature detailed resource lists, including durable URLs, to enable users to repurpose high-resolution images and online texts for their own projects.

Spyridon Simotas, Department of French

“My project is to create Open Educational Resources (OER) for a global simulation course on Business French. In this course students will follow a number of thematic learning modules leading to their final project which will be the creation of their own mock start-up company. In doing so, they will acquire important linguistic, cultural, and practical skills that they can apply in their professional careers in the Francophone world and beyond. The OER for this course will be assembled by a variety of authentic materials from entrepreneurial projects in the Francophone world. I will strive to make this course as diverse and as relevant to the current historic moment as possible, so that all students feel included and inspired---two important factors for their success. This work is driven by the principles of Open Pedagogy, and it combines my interests with UVA's own institutional efforts to offer transformative learning experiences, while also being affordable, equitable, and accessible to everybody.”

Miao Fen-Tseng, Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

"Instructors of Pre-advanced Chinese (CHIN3010 and CHIN3020) have faced different challenges. Conventional printed textbooks fail to reflect the most current societal, national, and international trends and developments. Exercises are focused on vocabulary and grammar and lack opportunities for interaction and communication. Furthermore, textbooks include only very limited resources to help learners learn independently and self-monitor their individual learning outcomes before and after class. Nowadays, theory and practice point to the importance of student engagement and active language learning through authentic experiences and creative problem solving. After creating CHIN3020 (funded by NEH) to fuel the disconnect between available resources and best practices and experimenting with pedagogical approaches, the proposed OER for CHIN3010 course is designed to create a seamless process for learners to immerse in real-world and digital authenticity in smooth transition to CHIN3020...By creating real-life contexts and requiring creative problem-solving, they are intrinsically motivating and help learners develop cognitive flexibility, higher-order thinking, and linguistic and cultural confidence."

Kyle Schumann and Lauren McQuistion,  Architecture

"We intend to create a manual/textbook to equip students with technical skills critical to their design education, including analog drafting and model making, digital drawing, 3D modeling and photo editing, and photography. This resource will build and compile information on analog and digital skills into a single resource, presenting information succinctly to students while teaching best practices and workflows to develop good working habits and time management skills. The OER will aim to be applicable across departments and institutions by focusing on foundational technical skills needed in coursework and professional design careers...This resource is sorely needed. The foundational content covered in this OER is critical to several courses and programs in the School of Architecture but is taught in a piecemeal way through a collection of fragmented resources that place additional strain on faculty and student teaching assistants, and additional pressures on students who need to access distributed information in varying locations and formats that sometimes require paid access. This resource aims to reduce the financial burden on students and teach better time management skills and work-life balance through streamlining access to these crucial learning resources."

Rachel Most, Anthropology and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

"The resource I plan to create is a book/web site that will help students (and their families) understand the value of a college degree and, more specifically, of a liberal arts degree. My hope is the content will be such that it can easily be expanded to other schools (e.g., a business or nursing school) but my focus will be on value of the liberal arts...Over my 30 years in the Dean’s Office I have seen trends that have concerned me and I hope this content will help counter those trends and also offer some valuable advice. These topics will include, but are not limited to • The dangers of being over-parenting and over parenting • Parents selecting classes and majors for their children • The myth that your major is your career • What To do in college to take full advantage of all that is offered • How to take full advantage of all that a college offers. These will be explored and evaluated along with case studies I have collected."

Charlotte Hoopes, School of Commerce

"To date, I have identified and used (as assigned readings) a number of chapters extracted from currently available OERs. Despite extensive searching, no existing OER fully meets my course needs, and I have thus pulled from several different OERs to provide students with the materials that best align with the topics and learning objectives of the course. While I do use course materials that cannot currently be replaced by OERs (e.g., simulations that require a fee to access), using OERs as described above has already allowed me to achieve significant cost savings in the total course materials cost by ensuring that students are only paying for materials I cannot provide access to free of charge. In addition, as a part of the above project, I plan to identify and incorporate readings for a few course topics for which I still used readings that require a fee, which will result in additional savings for students. Until now, I have provided OER chapters to students as individual PDFs that I have lightly edited/adapted. For my project, I plan to not only consolidate these various chapters into a single, cohesive textbook that is customized to the course, but also to incorporate additional materials (e.g., embedded videos, links to supplemental resources, practice questions, etc.) to round out and enhance this customized OER course textbook. These additional materials include the following existing materials: embedded videos and links to supplemental external resources; as well as the following new content: practice questions and short cases/vignettes/real-world examples."

Heidi Nobles, Department of English and Associate Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

Professor Nobles received a 'create' grant to begin work on a multi-pronged project that would support her instruction of editing and publishing courses.  The grant will help her establish an open access repository, an instructors' guide, and a book.  She noted that an open version of these resources does not exist, and these materials would help provide instructors and students with much-needed, hands-on, practice materials.