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GV Now

Symposium to explore access to open educational resources

  • Photo of students studying

Posted on October 17, 2018

An upcoming event will celebrate Grand Valley faculty and staff members who strive to develop free and open educational resources for students, and how they incorporate those resources into their classrooms.

The 2018 Open GVSU Symposium, taking place in conjunction with International Open Access Week, will be held October 22, from 1:30-4 p.m., in the Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room (room 030). Regina Gong, open educational resources project manager and head of Technical Services and Systems at Lansing Community College, will deliver a keynote address at 2 p.m.

The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn more about Grand Valley’s open resources initiatives that focus on openly-licensed textbooks, paywall-free academic publishing and encouraging greater sharing of research data. Roundtable discussions will also be held, focusing on challenges and opportunities in open resources practices.

Matt Ruen, scholarly communications outreach coordinator for University Libraries and member of Grand Valley's Open Educational Resources (OER) Task Force, said the symposium will provide an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce the university's expanding involvement with OER.

"Events like this help students, faculty and staff members learn more about the information systems that shape our experiences," said Ruen. "Understanding how the Laker Store negotiates textbook costs, how departments or instructors select course materials, and how students respond to cost barriers helps us all make more informed and effective choices.”

Ruen added that the task force, composed of both faculty and students, will continue to drive Grand Valley's OER initiatives through recommending strategies that can help the university accelerate and expand the use and creation of OER and affordable course materials.

"This work improves students' access to education and lowers barriers to educational materials, which in turn is likely to improve retention, course completion and educational outcomes," said Ruen. "Supporting faculty to create and share OER embodies the university’s mission to enrich society through excellent teaching, active scholarship and public service by sharing our faculty members’ exceptional teaching and scholarly expertise with learners around the world."

A primary method available for faculty to share their scholarly expertise is through ScholarWorks@GVSU, the university's open-access repository that contains more than 14,000 scholarly and creative works. All Grand Valley faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to add their work to the database. Materials housed in ScholarWorks have been downloaded more than 5 million times by people around the world since 2008.

Grand Valley currently has more than 1.5 million books, e-books, and e-journals available for students to access for free.

For more information about the symposium, visit