By Veronica J. Howard
Cost and access are significant barriers to recruiting diverse future behavior analysts. For example, up to 60% of undergraduate students skip purchasing textbooks due to cost (Florida Virtual Campus, 2018), jeopardizing their ability to learn the material and be successful in classes. Students also report that the cost of educational materials is a significant barrier to success, requiring them to choose between basic living expenses like rent and food or their course materials (The Hope Center, 2021), which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (US PIRG, 2021). Free and openly licensed educational resources improve student success and retention, particularly among groups historically underrepresented in college (e.g., Fischer et al., 2015, Colvard et al., 2018). Our volunteer-led community seeks to promote educational affordability by promoting the use of Open Access (zero cost) and openly licensed Open Educational Resources (OER) to better support students and promote diversity and inclusion in the field of behavior analysis.
The Open Educational Resources SIG aims to promote the adoption, creation, and dissemination of open educational resources in behavior analysis. We do this by providing educational events and opportunities to teach about the value of low-cost educational, training, and research resources. We also build community, providing a forum for OER creators to collaborate on new projects and highlight amazing new resources, reducing the individual workload required to create and manage OERs. We also work to disseminate news about OER and the empirical benefits of these resources within and beyond our membership.
Our community is currently led by Rachel Potter (Mary Baldwin University). Our board includes Ryan Sain (Mary Baldwin University/PsychCore), Clint Evans (Behavior Chef), and Brian Middleton (Bearded Behaviorist). Our Secretary/Treasurer is Veronica Howard (University of Alaska Anchorage).
Events & Activities
In 2020, the SIG offered five continuing education events, including:
- An Introduction to CC Licenses, The Role of OER in the Dissemination of Behavior Analysis (a DBA SIG collaboration), The Search for an OER: A Mystery OER CE event, Students as Content Creators, and Annotating with Hypothes.is. These recorded events are freely available for review in our member forum.
- SIG leadership also represented the community at the ABAI Culturo-Behavior Science Conference, at the ABAI Annual Conference, at the 2020 Open Ed Conference, at the inaugural Open Education Southern Symposium. We were also graciously invited to conduct a CEU event for UncomfortableX, highlighting how OER initiatives can better help ABA educators and supervisors promote equity and diverse representation in materials.
The community is gearing up for another year of amazing CE opportunities plus some ambitious new projects, including the development of introductory-level modules to teach basic behavioral principles and applications as well as developing a curated list of free and open access resources to support courses teaching BCBA ethics courses. Volunteers needed!
We will also be working hard to highlight the amazing Openly Licensed supervision curriculum developed by our member, Dr. Rachel White (University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Human Development).
The OER SIG is open to any behavior analysts working in research, teaching, and practice who are interested in promoting the free and open dissemination of behavior analytic materials using open licenses. Students are very much welcome. More information about our free membership can be found at the SIG’s website.