Open Education Leadership Program 2017-2018

Abbey Elder

Open Education Leadership Fellow, Class of 2018



Abbey Elder is the Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian at Iowa State University and liaison librarian for the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology. She supports scholarly communication on campus by developing workshops, events, and educational materials for users about topics related to OER, Open Access, and copyright. In 2018, she helped launch Iowa State University’s Open Education Mini-Grants Program with ISU’s Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching and the Office of the Senior Vice President & Provost. Abbey’s personal and professional research interests lie in understanding the disciplinary differences in the approaches that faculty take toward Open Access and Open Educational Resources. In particular, Abbey is interested in Open Access monograph publishing and the disciplinary OER needs of instructors.

Leadership Portfolio

As part of the Open Education Leadership Program, Abbey was encouraged to explore the needs present in the Iowa State University community to influence her project development. Since ISU has strong programs in engineering, agriculture, and technology, she was interested in exploring the needs of instructors in these fields when it comes to the adoption or creation of OER. Her capstone project, Identifying OER Needs by Discipline, is a survey instrument and user guide developed to explore how faculty in various disciplines approach OER differently from their peers in other fields. Abbey recently ran a research project with three other universities using a shortened version of this survey instrument. The results of that research will be published in late 2019/early 2020. 

Abbey’s other major contributions to the Open Education Leadership Program include a video series on Youtube that discusses topics in Open Education and a worksheet on project development for OER advocates. The Project Development Worksheet is an openly licensed outline created to support advocates who are interested in developing their own initiative or project.

Current Work

Since completing the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, Abbey has been growing the Open & Affordable Education Committee at Iowa State, and working on the new state-wide committee for Open Education, the Iowa Open Education Action Team. In addition to her advocacy work, Abbey has also written and published a handbook for faculty interested in OER, “The OER Starter Kit.” Abbey is currently working on a second volume based on The OER Starter Kit, a starter kit for OER program managers, which should be completed in 2020. 

You can contact Abbey at [email protected] if you are interested in collaborating on a project or publication. 

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