Open Education in Oregon: An Interview with Amy Hofer
Author: Office of Academic Innovation
Posted: February 14, 2019

Where is Open Education headed in Oregon?

OAI talks with Amy Hofer, Coordinator of Oregon's Statewide Open Education Library Services

Amy Hofer is the OER librarian for Oregon's colleges and universities, and a coauthor of the book "Transforming Information Literacy Instruction: Threshold Concepts in Theory and Practice." By night she is a fiddler and square dance caller.


For those who have never heard of OER or Open Education before, what is your elevator pitch to them?
Terms like OER or Open Education may sound like jargon to newcomers, but it’s easy to relate to the issue of affordable textbooks. Beyond the financial benefit to students, faculty get excited about the ability to tailor their course materials to exactly fit their learning objectives or student needs.

Can you talk a little about how you got started working within the Open Education movement?
I was lucky to be hired to my current position as a relative newcomer to open education. The first thing I did was to start cold-calling colleagues who could help me figure out how to do my job. I’m grateful for the generous responses of people like Quill West at Pierce College in Washington, Una Daly at the Community College Consortium for OER, Dianna Fisher at Oregon State University, and Nicole Allen at SPARC. I also reached out to identify point people at each of Oregon’s 24 colleges and universities, and they helped me understand and showcase the great work that’s already happening statewide.

What about the Open Education movement is most exciting, interesting, or important to you?
The most exciting thing is how new this field is. I do a lot of experimenting and learning on the job, which keeps me interested. But the reason that this work feels important is the impact on students. Open education makes a degree more accessible and also leads to conversations about course design and student outcomes that can lead to a better experience for both students and faculty.

What work are you doing around Open Education in Oregon right now?
There is a lot going on right now, including two bills that have been drafted in the state legislature relating to affordable textbooks and open education. The current Open Oregon grant cohort includes about 70 projects that range in scope from redesigning courses with existing OER, all the way to writing new open textbooks from scratch where none already exist. I’m also looking forward to the statewide OER Symposium coming up on May 17 at Lane Community College, which will feature hands-on learning and a poster session to highlight what’s happening all over Oregon. Open Education Week is coming up the first week of March.

What is this event all about, and how is Oregon participating this year?
Open Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate all the great work that faculty, librarians, bookstore managers, accessibility services, instructional designers, and lots of others do to support the use of OER. This is the first time since I started my job in 2015 that Open Ed Week has NOT fallen during Oregon’s spring break, so I’m making the most of it! A workgroup from colleges and universities around the state designed a “menu” of events that each campus can use for ideas about their own Open Ed Week celebrations. In addition, Open Oregon Educational Resources is promoting daily challenges that make it very easy to participate at the state level.



Celebrate Open Education Week at Portland State University!

March 4th, 2019, 8:30am - 4:00pm, Smith Memorial Student Union, 355

Join us at PSU in kicking off Open Education Week with a celebration of the global open education movement! Here at PSU, students, faculty, staff and open education enthusiasts alike will find opportunities to learn more about advocating for affordable course materials, applying open pedagogy practices, reviewing open textbooks, and more. Reserve a spot today!