Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that are freely available and openly licensed, allowing you and your students to access and use them in your courses for free. OER include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, video, audio, simulations, assessments, and any other content used in education (ELI 2018).

Have you considered incorporating OER into your courses? Use of OER reduces cost for students and ensures all students have access to course materials from day one, thus breaking down barriers to access and affordability. As an instructor, using OER allows you to choose the most current, meaningful content and customize materials to your specific course learning outcomes.

Check out this video for a brief overview of OER and research on their effectiveness:

To get started using OER, we encourage you to visit Educause’s Open Educational Resources page, which provides some key resources for understanding and integrating these resources into your courses as well as links to OER repositories. Prefer to talk to someone in person? Contact an Instructional Technology staff member to set up a consultation.

We also invite you to two events we are hosting on the topic of OER in the coming weeks:


“7 Things You Should Know About Open Education: Content.” 7 Things You Should Know About Open Education: Content, ELI, June 2018,

SXSWEdu Highlight: Bring Personalized Learning in Your Classes

SXSWEdu Conference

The pedagogy of personalization referenced in this post was presented by Alix Horton (New Tech Network-Literacy Coach), Drew Schrader (New Tech Netwotk-Dir Assessment), and Paul Curtis (New Tech Network-Dir of Platform Dev) in the summit session of SXSWEdu 2017.


What is Personalized Learning?

It entails school culture, pedagogy, available resources and all that might influence the shape of the learning environment. In the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan: Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education (NETP) and the 2017 NETP Update, both define personalized learning as the following:

“Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are made available that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests and often self-initiated.”

Personalized learning usually leverages digital tools and applications to customize learning for each individual and ensure students can close the skill gaps, achieve mastery, or gain advanced knowledge in the concepts taught. Personalized learning provides instruction that is meaningful and contextualized for the students, and consists of the following (SXSWEdu 2017):

  • The pace of learning is adjusted and self-paced.
  • Learning objectives, approaches, and content are optimized for each learner.
  • Learning is motivated and driven by learner interests.
  • Learners are given choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.
  • Learning is often supported by technology.

To allow true personalized learning, faculty utilize technology to make it easier to transform courses that support individualized learning. In this post are some strategies in support of personalized learning. Continue reading

Experiments in Teaching Recap

Experiments in TeachingOn Wednesday, February 22, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Instructional Technology, and the Munday Library hosted Experiments in Teaching, a celebration of pedagogical experiments on campus. At this event, sixteen St. Edward’s faculty members, representing all five schools, presented a series of two-minute “lightning talks” about innovative teaching techniques or projects they have implemented in their classes. The lightning talk format allowed each presenter just enough time to tease the audience with essential information about their work – including a description of their teaching experiment and their goals for taking this approach – and gave the audience exposure to a wide variety of teaching models in use at the university. Presenters and attendees then had the opportunity to mingle during the reception to ask follow-up questions and engage in deeper discussion. Continue reading

SXSWEdu: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Solve Problems


Temple Grandin, SXSWEdu 2016 opening keynote speaker, is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and often speaks about her personal story of autism and cattle handling.

Temple, this charming quirky character, shared her personal story of growing up with the label of autism. Her talk was both inspiriting and entertaining.

As Temple Grandin stated, to help people learn, you need to first realize people think differently. Different kinds of minds mean different problem solving skills. For example, restricting students to one path of achieving a goal, such as requiring a non-needed prerequisite for advanced courses, might set a very high boundary for people who think differently. As Temple claimed, learning should be building up things that people are good at.

Continue reading

Inside Great St. Ed’s Courses: A Guided Tour of How They Work

Please join Instructional Technology and the Center for Teaching Excellence for this event on

Thursday, November 12, 3:30 – 5:00 pm, Fleck 305

RSVP online


Inside Great St. Ed’s Courses: A Guided Tour of How They Work

One of the advantages of digital course tools is that they allow us to archive and share our course design. For this panel, we asked a variety of faculty members whose pedagogy is  made visible through Canvas to show us the inner workings of their courses. Learn how they structure the semester’s work, facilitate ongoing student interaction inside and outside of class, provide timely feedback and grades, check students’ knowledge through quizzing, organize group activities, and deepen student engagement. Courses will be shared by:

  • Tricia Shepherd, Professor of Chemistry
  • Susie Brister, Adjunct Professor of Art
  • Carol Gee, Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Casey Sherman, Assistant Professor of Mathematics,
  • Elisabeth Johnson, Associate Professor of Literacy
  • Grant H. Potts, Adjunct Professor of University Studies
  • Debra Zahay-Blatz, Professor of Marketing
  • Billy Earnest, Assistant Professor of Communication


Effective Strategies for Online Disscussions in Your Course

Planning Your Online Course v2 -Giulia ForsytheOnline discussions can serve as a great opportunity for your students to reflect on the ideas presented in your course and allow them a safe place for challenging academic discourse. This blog post shares a few starting points for thinking about the format of your discussions, the roles students can play in the discussion space, and ways you can assess and incorporate the online discussions back into your face-to-face class. Illustration by Giulia Forsythe

Continue reading

Using the Experimental Classroom for Collaborative Group Work

Do you do group work in class?  Are you frustrated by the time spent moving tables and chairs to facilitate your groups?  The experimental classroom in Moody Hall 212 is designed to make it easy for students to work in groups.  The room features 25 moveable chairs with an integrated desk that can easily be moved around allowing students to quickly form groups. In addition, the room is equipped with “huddleboards” or small whiteboards for group use as well as the standard teacher’s computer station and display.

Rachael Neal, Michael Kart, Chris Mosier and Billy Earnest participating in a discussion

Rachael Neal, Michael Kart, Chris Mosier and Billy Earnest participating in a discussion

Chair with integrated desk on wheels

Chair with integrated desk on wheels

This flexible set up encourages a variety of active learning experiences for students.

  • language students can easily move between groups to practice their conversational skills with different partners
  • students can collaborate to produce solutions in problem-based learning exercises
  • instructors can lead students through a cooperative learning activity like the jigsaw technique in which students form teams to cover different areas of an assignment then recombine in mixed groups to assemble their knowledge

Several faculty taught in the room in the spring. Rachael Neal reports that her students were “super excited to have class discussions” in the room. Kim Garza thought being in the room brought her students together.

MH 212 is available for scheduling for individual classes or for the entire semester. To schedule MH 212 for an individual class, look in 25 Live for availability and schedule with Genevieve Bittson in Academic Affairs (  To request the room for the full semester, please complete this form (directions for submission are on the form.

If you are interested in partnering with instructional technology to research how to best use the flexible classroom or some other new technology, please express your interest in this brief form:

Higher Ed Highlights from SXSWEdu

In March, Austin hosted the fifth annual SXSWEdu, the education-focused sibling to SXSW’s larger Interactive, Music and Film festivals. SXSWEdu brings together researchers and practitioners to discuss innovative solutions to pressing issues facing higher education as well as K-12.

SXSWEduSt. Edward’s was well represented with faculty presenting in two sessions. Professors Corinne Weisgerber and Shannan Butler provoked one of the more spirited debates at the conference in their session “Disrupting the Disruption in Higher Education”. Continue reading

Watch Videos about Experiments in Teaching at St. Edward’s University

Curious about what your colleagues are up to in the classroom? Looking for some new ideas for next semester?  Check out this playlist of two-minute videos from the “Experiments in Teaching” faculty innovation showcase held Friday, October 24th.

Want to try your own experiment? Consider applying for an Innovation Fellowship or Technology for Innovative Learning & Teaching Pilot Project Grant.

How Are Faculty at St. Edward’s University Fostering Student Research?

Student presenting research in a poster sessionOn October 1, 2014, Dr. Richard Kopec, Professor School of Natural Sciences, Dr. Molly Minus, Associate Vice President, Dean and Director McNair Program, Sonia Briseno, Assistant Director McNair Program, Dr. Sara Henseler, Associate Professor, BSS, and Dr. Jason Rosenblum, Assistant Professor, School of Management and Business, presented at a Tech Snack on the topic “Fostering Student Research in the Classroom and Beyond.”

Dr. Richard Kopec

Dr. Kopec explained how the School of Natural sciences is fostering student research through the following initiatives:

  • The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) seeks to increase the number of students receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
  • The Natural Sciences LLC  (also known as the CASAR Project: Community for Achievement in Science, Academic, and Research) was established by a grant from the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, to give science majors at St. Edward’s University unique opportunities to begin establishing their credentials as experienced scientists. The participants participate in the Freshman Accelerated Research Methods (FARM) Workshop where they learn research tools and methodologies.
  • The Natural Sciences Learning Clusters  are open to all science and mathematics majors. Cluster members can participate in the pre-college research workshop. Participants will also be eligible for a research stipend, and housing stipend. The Natural Sciences Learning Clusters are provided by a grant from TG (the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation). During the Freshman Introduction to Research Experience (FIRE) weekend workshop, participants meet other science cluster members and several science faculty members and learn research tools and methodologies focused in their discipline.During the spring semester science seminar course, students learn about possible research projects and meet the supervising faculty. If there is a project that interests the student, he/she can apply to participate in a six-week research project with the faculty member/research project of their choice. Up to 15 students are supported for summer research during the first six-week summer session.

Dr. Molly Minus and Sonia Briseno

Dr. Molly Minus and Sonia Briseno explained the mission, vision, objectives, and accomplishments of the McNair Scholars Program at SEU:

In August 2003, St. Edward’s University received their first four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to begin the McNair Scholars Program This program prepares participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. The goal is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. McNair scholars are undergraduate students interested in pursuing PhDs who are typically underrepresented in their fields of interest. A majority are low-income and first-generation college students. The program provides funding for faculty-directed research that includes a stipend for scholars. In addition, McNair scholars benefit from visits to graduate schools, academic counseling, course tutoring, professional conferences, preparation for GRE exams, and advice and assistance with the graduate school selection and application process.

The McNair program at SEU has produced more than 30 Master’s Degrees, three Ph.Ds and two Ph.D candidates.

Dr. Sara Henseler

Dr. Sara Henseler explained the different elements that she uses to foster student research in her Experimental Psychology and Research Methods class trough the development of longitudinal and correlational studies in her class. She also encourages students to conduct research, collect, and analyze data using online survey technologies like Qualtrics.

Dr. Jason Rosenblum

Dr. Jason Rosenblum shared with the audience his experience creating a digital capstone course that meets the student learning outcomes required, that builds on prior faculty expertise, and is manageable both as an instructor and by the students. He share that students bring a diverse array of research skills to their capstone experience, but their experience with digital research strategies are spotty. Be prepared to review basic strategies to conduct online research and schedule research support time with library staff.