In the Grossmont Union High School District, we have started the process of developing several OER curriculum collections to eventually replace some of the traditional textbooks currently found in classrooms across our ten high schools. We have started to share some of the different pieces of that journey in different venues and thought it was finally time to document with some more detail in one place.
Part 2: Getting Started
#GoOpen offered us a chance to empower teachers, ensure equitable access to curriculum, modernize instructional materials, and save money in the process. It should be easy, right? Of course, it wasn’t. After I drafted a proposal in December 2015, we got sucked into the challenge of matching the ideal with the messiness of our reality – district policies, association agreements, and a product that would work for and in our ecosystem.
The first big hurdle was to establish the parameters of the project. Without getting into the details, the district and the teachers association were able to come to an agreement that clearly defines the roles, qualifications, responsibilities, selection process, and compensation (see the resulting MOU ). As we began spreading the word to departments and teachers, we created an FAQ to address pressing questions and dispel some of the rumors and myths that had spread during the negotiation process.
With the logistics under control, the next step was to determine the general shape of the finished products (knowing that they would never fully be finished). We didn’t just want to just create an online textbook. That defeated one of our purposes – providing digital content and resources that will help facilitate an instructional transformation or evolution. We wanted more. We also wanted to provide a wide array of resources to allow teacher choice on what resources to use based on their classroom needs and areas of interest. To address that up front, we created a multitiered approach to categorize and guide the work.
- Core Content – Textbook-style content that serves as the foundation of the course. This meets our Williams Settlement obligations (A California thing).
- Supplemental Resources – Additional readings, primary sources, videos, multimedia resources, online simulations, etc.
- Teaching Materials – Multiple pacing guides, activities, simulations, projects, lesson, etc. This section draws from the content and supplemental resources.
This structure continues to guide our curation of materials. It started as a generic template, but as the work progress, it evolved into something more user-friendly.
By Summer 2016, we were ready to start selecting subjects, building teams, and starting he work.
Next: Doing the Work