The Past Two Months

A lot of exciting things have happened to me over the past two months. First, I successfully defended my (openly licensed) dissertation on Feb. 1. Preparation for this event occupied the majority of my time in December and January, of course. My dissertation research involved developing a model of digital textbook quality from the college student perspective and subsequently using this model to develop a measurement instrument that can be used in evaluating digital textbooks. The implications of this instrument (which I will make available for general use soon) in the OER context are large. Those developing and improving digital OER will be welcome and encouraged to use this instrument to get valid and reliable feedback from their students.

At the same time I was defending my dissertation (literally the day before), I traveled to Boise, ID to interview for the position of Director of Assessment in the State Department of Education (SDE). I was blessed to receive an offer for this position and after careful consideration decided to accept it. Less than a week after defending my dissertation, I was unloading the moving truck at our new house in Boise.The Director of Assessment position is a great fit for me because I have extensive training in educational measurement and enjoy working on educational policy issues. In addition, the senior staff at the Idaho SDE have expressed a keen interest in OER and have welcomed my expertise in this area. Given that I work next door to the Director of Content for the state, don’t be surprised to see some OER-related K-12 initiatives coming out of Idaho in the near future.

As the Director of Assessment, I look forward to leading Idaho into the next generation of K-12 assessment. In particular, I am excited to participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)as the State Lead for Idaho (and possibly on some committees) and in preparing Idaho for the transition from its current statewide test to the more rigorous and technologically advanced test currently being developed by SBAC. This transition will be challenging for many reasons, but I am eager to lead out and contribute to improved assessment at the state and national levels.

Also, sometime during the week between the job offer and the move, we heard back from The Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME) that our latest OEG paper regarding student and teacher perceptions of OER will be published in the next issue. Good news indeed. Finally, I completed and submitted a draft of the OER Policy Guide I have been working on as the OER Policy Fellow at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). It should be published soon. The last deliverable for this position will be a collaborative content development guide for states who are wanting to develop OER aligned to the Common Core. I hope to have that finished by the end of April and will provide links to both documents as soon as possible.


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