OER Advocate Profile | Kate Brau

Kate Brau, OER Learning Circle participant Spring 2018, OER Learning Circle Leader Fall 2018

Kate Brau is a Health and Physical Education faculty at Hibbing Community College.

Having revised online and face-to-face courses using Open Educational Resources (OERs), Kate is also trained as an OER Learning Circle Leader, now leading the third OER Learning Circle cohort at Hibbing Community College.

What helped you the most in achieving your OER goals? What are you most proud of?

The support Karen Pikula, OER Learning Circles facilitator, provided was integral in accomplishing my goal of redesigning my course HLTH 1150 Wellness. The required structure and weekly deadlines kept me on task. Without the project requirements, I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I did week by week, and likely would not have finished the project. It can be frightening to create something entirely by yourself, but overall, I am proud of my product. A course may never be perfect, but it represents a significant amount of work that saved my learners over $11,000 the following year. 

Students at Hibbing Community College have saved an estimated $236,545.85 since the fall of 2018 thanks to new OERs that have been adopted on campus.

Joining the OER Learning Circle Leaders cohort the following semester provided me an opportunity for training to implement OER Learning Circles on our campus and within our district. It represents thoughtful work that provides equity and tremendous savings for our students. 

What were some challenges you faced?

I didn’t think this was going to take as much time as it did. At first I was overwhelmed by the number of available resources. I struggled choosing the content. 

My semester as a Learning Circle Leader provided training and facilitation that was straightforward, but in order to implement future learning circles within our NHED district, funding was a great challenge.  

In effort to troubleshoot this challenge, we presented and received funding for a large innovation grant at the Shark Tank Open

This project challenged me as an educator in a way I didn’t expect.

Do you have any advice for faculty new to OER?

Take your time selecting resources. Make sure it’s “right” before moving too deep in the development of the course. It is worth the wait to make sure you are confident in your choices. 

What do you wish you had known before joining OER Learning Circles?

The time commitment. I wish I would have better budgeted dedicated time each week. I also did bite off a lot with this project with great consideration for course design.  However, at the conclusion, I had a completed course, built with SoftChalk, that met Quality Matters (QM) standards in a QM-Managed Review.

Interested in joining an OER Learning Circle to help your students save money on the cost of textbooks? 

Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2020 semester, and are due August 26, 2020. Learn more and apply today

Kate Brau at the 2020 OTN Summit

Questions? Contact Karen Pikula.

Faculty and staff interested in OER can also join the OER Community Site.

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