When education professor Clayton Smith set out to teach the undergraduate course Learning Organizations: Management and Leadership, he found no textbook encompassed the material he wanted students to have — so he wrote one.
Together with master’s student Carson Babich and Mark Lubrick, learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning, Dr. Smith has published Leadership and management in learning organizations as an open educational resource (OER) through eCampus Ontario, with support of an Office of Open Learning OER ACE (Adopt, Create, Extend) grant.
The format allows instructors anywhere in the world to freely access the book and repurpose it for their students, as long as they republish the modifications.
“It makes for better teaching, makes for better learning, and certainly reduces the cost to students,” says Smith. “The downside is it takes a lot of time to develop.”
He estimates the team spent eight to nine months on this book, but adds that making enhancements and modifications will be easier than with a printed text.
“I’m already thinking about producing another OER next year,” he says. “The idea is that we need to do more to make our resources open to the world and this is a pathway to that.”
The course and this text address understandings of leadership and management, learning principles and ethical implications, teamwork, and building a cohesive nature through diversity. The class is required to earn the minor in organizational learning and teaching, which is directed at undergraduate students in majors other than education.
“Learning organizations can be schools and post-secondary institutions, but they can also encompass corporate training, coaching, or human resources,” says Smith. “Any organization whose primary purpose is transmission or creation of knowledge.”
Babich had taken the course and was inspired to pursue further study in education; he is now working toward his M.Ed and has received a Research Stimulus Fund grant to assess the impact of OERs on student affordability and teaching and learning effectiveness.
“This minor program enrolls students from across the university who are seeking more knowledge and skills related to educational topics — they can be in psychology, human kinetics, or business,” Smith says. “They’re just finding they should be thinking about the principles and theories of pedagogy before they find themselves in a managerial position overseeing this type of work.”