Carrie Gits is the Head Librarian at the Austin Community College (ACC) Highland Campus. As the Library Services Open Educational Resources (OER) Facilitator her responsibilities include supporting faculty and librarians through training and information sharing on open education and OER. Carrie supports faculty in their discovery, adoption, evaluation, creation, and use of OER. She works closely with others across the college to advance ACC’s Z-Degree pathways and the adoption of OER. She authored the OER Libguide as a resource for ACC faculty. In 2017, she participated in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for the state’s OER Grant Program. Her research interests include library leadership, innovative library services which foster student success, and the role libraries play in supporting a sustainable OER culture within higher education.
Throughout the SPARC Open Education Leadership program year, Carrie presented on open education and OER to ACC faculty and staff. She also presented at several state and regional conferences and webinars. Her presentation topics ranged from reflecting on the success and challenges of ACC’s OER initiative, to sharing strategies for faculty and librarians on finding, evaluating, and integrating OER into their teaching. At ACC Carrie continues to actively support faculty who are adopting OER for their courses. She works collaboratively across the college to articulate the value of open education and open practices. As a way to inform her librarian colleagues on issues and resources (and local updates) surrounding OER, open access, and academic publishing she created an e-newsletter. The newsletter is modeled after SPARC’s bi-weekly OER Digest and is distributed to her librarian colleagues monthly.
Carrie’s capstone project focused on creating asynchronous online OER training modules for faculty. The modules serve to support faculty in their transition to using OER by providing learning opportunities to gain confidence in the use of open educational resources and to increase their knowledge of open educational practices and principles. The modules are created in a way that allow for easy adaptation and reuse for either a broad faculty audience or a distinct department.
ACC recently concluded participation in the Achieving the Dream OER Degree Initiative Grant. The college officially launched two OER degree pathways – now branded Z-Degrees – in the Associate of Arts and Associate of Sciences in General Studies. The training models serve to inform faculty about OER, highlight the Z-Degree process, as well as the available support systems within ACC. By building a culture of OER champions and faculty experts, Carrie hopes her training leads to an increase in OER adoption across the college.