Christopher Barnes is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Gettysburg College, a residential liberal arts college in southcentral Pennsylvania. Working with the Director of Scholarly Communications and the Scholarly Communications Assistant, he supports the use of open educational resources and promotes the benefits of open access publishing. Chris also oversees Gettysburg’s Open Access institutional repository, The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College. With a decade of teaching experience at the college level, he is particularly interested in the ways that open resources can transform teaching and learning for both students and instructors.
Prior to his arrival at Gettysburg College, Chris studied at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where he received his doctorate in English Literature and his master’s in academic librarianship from the School of Information. While earning his library degree, he worked in the University of Michigan Library as one of three University Library Associates, a fellowship position providing full-tuition, a part-time library job, and culminating in a capstone project. For that project, Chris conducted a national survey of Collection Development librarians concerning the scalability of Open Access monograph initiatives like Knowledge Unlatched and Open Book Publishers.
In addition to his Scholarly Communications responsibilities, Chris is also the Musselman Library liaison to the Civil War Institute, the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, and the Civil War Era Studies Department. He teaches information literacy sessions, assists students with research questions, and, as a member of the library’s Digital Scholarship Committee, he helps run the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellows program.
As the only member of the inaugural cohort not from a research university, Chris decided to examine ways that the liberal arts college environment could and should affect the support librarians provide for open education and the use of OER on campus. He focused on two related questions that are applicable to all institutional contexts. First, how does one assess the current state of open education on campus in order to determine the next steps that should be taken in terms of outreach and support? Second, how does one design an OER grant program for faculty that will be popular, effective, and sustainable? Ultimately he determined that, in terms of designing a grant program that will be a good fit for your campus, the kind of courses you want to support matters more than the kind of school at which you work. More on this and additional insights can be found in the Lessons Learned section of Chris’s final portfolio.
In order to help other librarians assess the open education environment on their campus and determine whether and what kind of OER grant program would be best to pilot, Chris wrote Piloting Faculty OER Grant Programs: A Practical Guide for Librarians. Part One of this community resource is an organized list of the most crucial questions for assessing whether a grant program is the best next step for your campus and what it should look like if it is to be successful and sustainable. Part Two is a collection of online resources related to Open Pedagogy and the use of OER in the undergraduate classroom. Learning about the successful implementation of OER by their peers can be a very powerful argument for faculty. The collection therefore includes links to several websites and works that offer examples of open pedagogy in practice. Readers will also find resources that define Open Pedagogy and place it within the larger context of the Open Education movement. The third and final part is comprised of the proposal Christopher developed for a pilot grant program at Gettysburg College along with brief explanations of the rationale behind some of the proposed program’s most salient features.