Johannah White is currently the OER/Instruction and Liaison Librarian at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. As an advocate for the Open movement, she advises faculty on finding/using OER, assignment creation incorporating OER, copyright, and Open Access publishing. She is a curator for the Louisiana-specific instance of the OER Commons which will debut in July 2019.
Previously, she also served as Reference Librarian/Instruction Coordinator at Xavier University of Louisiana as well. Her research interests include promoting inclusion in diverse classrooms and OER. Previously, she held the post of Reference and Instruction Librarian for Humanities at Tulane University. She holds a B.A. in Russian language and literature from the University of Kansas and a MLS from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Although the idea of an OER Toolkit is not new, the application of the same in a minority-serving institution is. As the toolkit idea is customizable in terms of cultural appeal to its target audience(s), it is now possible that the effect of such a tool can reach directly into the realm of social justice. It is well documented that students of color face more difficulties in attaining higher education; one of the most prevalent barriers remains the cost of a college education. One aspect we can affect with OER is the ‘textbook broke’ phenomenon. The high cost of textbooks and other course materials has been cited as a reason for students dropping courses, choosing to take courses with lower-cost texts, failure to achieve on tests, and ultimately negatively impacts student retention and time to graduation. The adoption of OER can help ease the financial burden carried by many minority undergraduates.
As the current generations of faculty and administrators are well accustomed to using commercially published course materials, the cause of Open Education, its practices, and OER often require some publicity or proof of concept in order to be taken seriously by educators.
As of June 2019, I have created a Toolkit intended for the intended use at my HBCU, Xavier University of Louisiana for a SGA-run campaign aimed at raising the profile of OER on campus. As the campaign is still pending, results and assessment will be future projects.