Author: Veronica J. Howard, founding member of the ABAI OER SIG
OPEN to everyone!
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 such as 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, equity, and inclusion in the field of behavior analysis. Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers. Their copyright licenses share permissions to allow anyone to freely use, adapt, and share those resources through the “5R’s”: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute (opencontent.org).
The SIG is committed to offering events and resources that are as accessible as possible, namely through digital access free of geographical restriction and cost barriers.
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 led by President Brian Middleton (Bearded Behaviorist/Mindful Behavior). Our board includes Ryan Sain (Mary Baldwin University/PsychCore) and Tara Fahmie (Monroe-Meyer Institute), with a newly elected board member joining our ranks in May 2023. Our Secretary/Treasurer is Veronica Howard (Mary Baldwin University).
Events & Activities
The SIG has offered numerous CE events for the community, including:
- “The Environment in which ABA Evolved: The History of ABA in its Historical Context” with Dr. Chris Barthold (January 2022)
- “Taking a Structured Approach to Staff Performance Needs using the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services (PDC-HS)” with Dr. Tyra Sellers (May 2022)
- “COVID on Campus: Interventions to Mitigate Viral Spread and Severe Illness at a University” with Dr. Rachel Potter (June 2022)
- “A Values-focused Approach to Solving Ethical Dilemmas” w/ Dr. Barbara Kaminski and Kate Fox (December 2022)
- “Solving Today’s Ethical Dilemmas – a Values-Focused Approach” w/ Kate Fox and Dr. Barbara Kaminski (January 2023)
- “Going Beyond The Code: The Effect of Teaching Decision Tree Use on Students’ Ethical Choice-Making Behavior” with Christy Evanko and Dr. Kelly Matthews (February 2023)
- “Affirming Practice in the Context of the LGBTQ+ Community: Professional & Ethical Considerations” w/ Rose Froelich & Dr. Rachel Potter (March 2023)
- “Uncovering the Open Educational Resource: Behavioral Pedagogies and Online Learning” w/ Dr. Adam Brewer, Dr. Mirari Elcoro, & Aura Lippencott (March 2023)
- “Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Training – The Basics and Connections” w/ Dr. Scott Herbst (April 2023)
Additional events were offered in May and beyond. These sessions are available for free for our members, and can be accessed for review through our OER SIG member forum. Membership in the SIG is free and is not bound by membership requirements to any organizations.
SIG leadership also shared resources to the community, including links to related groups’ conferences, free-to-access webinars, and openly-published resources in the interdisciplinary Open community.
The community is gearing up for another year of amazing CE opportunities plus some ambitious new projects, including the development of openly licensed resources to teach introductory-level content in behavior analysis. We will also be institutionalizing many of our SIG activities in formal policies and procedures to promote continuity in our first administrative change since the COVID pandemic began. Volunteers and leaders are needed, so if you’d like to learn more, reach out to the OER SIG!
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. All contributions to the community are eagerly welcomed, and we encourage anyone interested in making the field more accessible to learn more about our SIG at https://www.openbehaviorsig.org/ .