Grace Atkins was the Outreach & Open Education Librarian at the University of Missouri. A member of the UM System’s Affordable & Open Educational Resources executive committee, she designed, supported, and led the Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives at the system and campus level. She started working with OER in 2015 by coordinating an OER Interest Group at the University of Missouri and organizing the university’s first Open Education Week. In June 2017, she was appointed to the task force that designed and implemented a $500,000 system-wide grant incentive program to fund faculty adoption, customization, and creation of OER. As of Spring 2019, the grant program has saved University of Missouri students over $2 million in course material costs.
Grace was also a MOBIUS state system lead for the Open Textbook Network (OTN) and a member of the Midwest Higher Education Compact’s Missouri Action team. In her role at MOBIUS (regional library consortium), she trained Missouri librarians from higher education institutions across the state in how communicate with faculty and instructors about OER and Open Education Pedagogy (OEP). To further support OER across the state, she forged a partnership between MOBIUS and the OER Commons to build the MOBIUS OER Commons Hub, a set of consortia-wide OER collections created by and for instructors at Missouri higher education institutions.
Wanting to play a larger role in the creation of OER, Grace left the University of Missouri in August 2019 to pursue a Master of Education in Learning Technologies from the University of Minnesota. Grace is exploring how to increase OER use and creation in the instructional design space. By incorporating technology in the classroom and creating online learning programs, she hopes to improve student access to course materials. Grace looks forward to continuing to work with faculty on embracing open pedagogy and improving equity in higher education.
At the time of Grace’s participation in the Open Education Leadership Program, OER activity at the University of Missouri was shifting from a campus grassroots effort to a system-wide top-level priority. When presented with the challenge of having a system-wide OER initiative and no centralized campus office to locally implement the initiative, campus support units had to get creative in their organization of staff and workflows. Her capstone project, Forming & Creating an OER Working Group, explores the importance of collaborative organizational structures in supporting OER initiatives at higher education institutions. Her community resource provides simple instructions for how to form effective OER working groups and committees at higher education institutions. She presented on this work at the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) and Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (Alliance) joint conference, “OER: From Vision to Action,” and the 2018 Open Education Conference.