Open Education Leadership Program

Open Education

The SPARC Open Education Leadership Program runs over two semesters, corresponding to the academic year. It begins with an 8-week online course in the fall, followed by an independent capstone project with support from a mentor in the spring.

In keeping with SPARC’s commitment to setting the default to Open, all course content and curricular resources developed for the program will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.  Resources will be linked from this page following the pilot.

Semester 1

The first step of the program is an 8-week intensive online course, which requires a commitment of  6-8 hours per week. The course aims to foster deeper understanding about the Open Education space and how to advance OER initiatives in higher education. The course is structured into weekly modules, with each module addressing a different theme. Each week, fellows will complete a set of readings and produce an assignment at the end. Fellows will also interact between themselves and the instructor asynchronously through a chatroom and occasionally through scheduled group discussions. The primary output of Semester 1 will be a plan for the Semester 2 capstone project.

During this semester, there will be a one week gap during which participants will attend the annual Open Education Conference, which provides an opportunity to meet in person and immerse in the issue.

Course modules:

  • Module 1: What is Open Education?
  • Module 2: Open Education on Campus
  • Module 3: Discovering and Curating OER
  • Module 4: Open Licensing, Fair Use and Copyright
  • Module 5: Adapting and Publishing OER
  • Module 6: Open Education and Institutional Change
  • Module 7: Open Education Advocacy, Project Planning, and Management
  • Module 8: Pulling It All Together

Semester 2

During the second semester, fellows will implement a capstone project related to advancing Open Education, which they develop and plan during Semester 1. Fellows will be matched with a mentor to provide guidance through the project throughout Semester 2. The expected time commitment for fellows during Semester 2 is 3-4 hours per week.

Examples of projects might include implementation of an OER grant program, organizing an awareness campaign on campus, or developing a tool. Projects need not be entirely accomplished within the program timeframe, but should be designed to produce a measurable outcome by the end of the semester. Fellows will be evaluated based on their reported progress toward this outcome, along with their successful production of an output of broader value to the community associated with the project, such as a toolkit, guide, or set of resources.


Assessment will be conducted by a three-person panel including the fellow’s mentor, course instructor, and a senior SPARC staff person based on a rubric agreed to at the start of the capstone project. Those who are assessed to have completed the program will receive a certificate of completion, a letter of recommendation from SPARC, and may list on their resume the title of SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow. Fellows also complete a before and after assessment for the purposes of evaluation of the course, and will be asked to report back annually.

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