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Open Access Week promotes accessible materials for learning

Posted on October 24, 2016

Grand Valley is joining a global movement to highlight the importance of making scholarly information available to everyone around the world. 

International Open Access Week takes place October 24-30 with multiple events taking place on campus.

October 24-29 in the Kirkhof Center, representatives from the Student Senate will be raising awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER), which are class materials that are free to access for students and faculty, and that are designed to be reused and adapted.

"Open Educational Resources are free, so that every student can benefit from them starting day one of class, without worrying about financial aid, paychecks or covering rent," said Matt Reun, University Libraries scholarly communications outreach coordinator. "The OER published in ScholarWorks@GVSU, for instance, have been downloaded at schools across the U.S. and by learners in 127 other countries, just in the last 90 days."

Ruen added that materials housed in ScholarWorks@GVSU have been downloaded more than 3 million times from people around the world since 2008. The university's open-access repository gives Grand Valley faculty, staff and students the ability to add their own work to the database.

"If students choose to, they can help create a more equitable, open world with fewer barriers to knowledge," said Ruen. "Above all, I hope students learn that they can take action to support alternatives to the traditional, commercial, and academic publishing systems.

Also during International Open Access Week, University Libraries will host two workshops in collaboration with the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, and the Information Technologies eLearning and Emerging Technologies group. The workshops will explore how OER can support engaging, flexible, and effective teaching.

"All About Open Educational Resources" will take place October 25, from 2-3 p.m. in the DeVos Center, room 114 A, and Thursday, October 27, from 1-3 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library, room 002. Workshop registration is open until the night before each session and can be completed via Sprout.

Multiple faculty who have integrated OER into their teaching methodologies and who have published in open access journals will take part in a panel discussion October 26, from 9:15-11 p.m. in Kirkhof Center, room 2215/2216.

"I hope students take this opportunity to start conversations with their professors about the impact of textbook costs, the process of selecting course materials and the reasons for their instructors' publishing choices," said Ruen. "By talking about the factors that shape faculty choices and sharing their own experiences, students can gain a deeper understanding of their future professional and academic fields, and help their instructors better understand the student context."

For more information about International Open Access Week, contact Matt Ruen at, or visit

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