Developing an Open Access, Competency-Based Global Oral Health Curriculum: A Global Health Starter Kit | Journal of Dental Education

Abstract:  Dental education has seen increases in global health and international educational experiences in many dental schools’ curricula. In response, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s Global Oral Health Interest Group aims to develop readily available, open access resources for competency-based global oral health teaching and learning. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a Global Health Starter Kit (GHSK), an interdisciplinary, competency-based, open access curriculum for dental faculty members who wish to teach global oral health in their courses. Phase I (2012-17) evaluated longitudinal outcomes from two Harvard School of Dental Medicine pilot global health courses with 32 advanced and 34 predoctoral dental students. In Phase II (2018), the Phase I outcomes informed development, implementation, and evaluation of the open access GHSK (45 enrollees) written by an interdisciplinary, international team of 13 content experts and consisting of five modules: Global Trends, Global Goals, Back to Basics: Primary Care, Social Determinants and Risks, and Ethics and Sustainability. In Phase III (summer and fall 2018), five additional pilot institutions (two U.S. dental schools, one U.S. dental hygiene program, and two dental schools in low- and middle-income countries) participated in an early adoption of the GHSK curriculum. The increase in perceived knowledge scores of students enrolled in the pilot global health courses was similar to those enrolled in the GHSK, suggesting the kit educated students as well or better in nearly all categories than prior course materials. This study found the GHSK led to improvements in learning in the short term and may also contribute to long-term career planning and decision making by providing competency-based global health education.

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER)

“[T]he UNESCO OER Recommendation has five objectives: (i) Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) Developing supportive policy; (iii) Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; (iv) Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and (v) Facilitating international cooperation….”

Job Opportunity: Open Educational Technologist, CUNY Graduate Center – Digital Initiatives at the Grad Center

“GC Digital Initiatives, in collaboration with The Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC), seeks an Open Educational Technology Specialist who will work on programming related to CUNY’s institutional investment in Open Educational Resources (OER). Beginning in 2017 and continuing into the upcoming academic year, New York State has made significant investments in supporting the development, deployment, and integration of OER across the curriculum.

This position will focus on CUNY’s instance of Manifold, an open-source publishing platform that faculty use to share OER, and it will have a secondary focus on the CUNY Academic Commons, an academic social network used by many CUNY faculty to teach their courses. The Open Educational Technology Specialist will support faculty and staff from across CUNY who are doing OER-related work on these platforms….”

Textbooks could be free if universities rewarded professors for writing them – Academic Matters

“eCampusOntario commissioned me to produce a report on how institutions of higher learning could support the implementation of open educational resources. I worked with the centre for a year as an Open Education Fellow, one of six who were selected because of our own involvement in producing open educational resources at our colleges and universities….

We only found two institutions in Canada, the University of British Columbia and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, where explicit mention of open education had been made in performance and tenure policies.


We recommended that Ontario’s colleges and universities recognize creating open resources in policies governing tenure and promotion. Doing so would change the culture of these institutions and be a more effective incentive than course buy-outs or small grants. It would communicate clearly that institutions of higher education take seriously the responsibility to tailor knowledge to students and to reduce barriers….”

On ZTC, OER, and a More Expansive View

“Regardless of whether you feel a stronger affinity with the ZTC [zero textbook cost] camp or the OER camp, there is something we should all strive to remember. Our primary priority should neither be minimizing cost nor maximizing pedagogical flexibility. Our primary priority should be increasing student learning, and our efforts to reduce costs and increase pedagogical flexibility must always be subservient to that end. When we fail to put student learning first, we can become zealots who confuse the means with the ends. This makes it possible for us to pursue cost reduction at any price to student learning. It also makes it possible for us to pursue pedagogical flexibility regardless of the cost to student learning….”

Open Educational Resources (OER) Librarian

“The UAA/APU Consortium Library seeks an enthusiastic, innovative, flexible, highly productive, and technologically adept candidate to join us in the role of OER Librarian. The successful candidate must have strong interpersonal skills and a passion for student success and equitable access to education/information. This Librarian will promote and facilitate adoption of open educational resources (OER) (and other affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks when OERs are unavailable) at UAA through advocacy, outreach, education, and support. They will collaborate with a diverse group of discipline faculty, library faculty, students, staff, administrators, and the local and broader community of open education leaders. Both experienced and entry-level candidates who meet the minimum requirements are encouraged to apply….”

Different Goals, Different Strategies

“I think Michael Feldstein is directionally correct in his analysis of what has been happening to “open education” for the past several years. Without wading into the labeling fray (are we a movement? a coalition? a community? a field? a discipline?) I’d like to add a bit of my own perspective. Where Michael sees three groups with different goals, I see four groups who are trying to use OER to solve closely related – but ultimately very different – problems:

The negative impact on access to education caused by the high price of traditional learning materials
The negative impact on student success caused by limitations in the traditional publishing model
The negative impact on pedagogy caused by copyright-related constraints inherent in traditional learning materials
The negative impact on students caused by a wide range of behaviors related to the business models of traditional publishers….”

David Wiley steps down and adjourns the Open Education Conference

“Last weekend, at the Open Education Conference in Phoenix, David Wiley, chief academic officer of Lumen Learning and the conference’s organizer for 16 years, announced that this would be its last gathering, or at least the last with him at the helm. The conference, which grew from 40 attendees in 2003 to 850 this year, was a meeting place for advocates of open education, a sometimes hard-to-define goal that often involved the use of open educational resources — free, openly licensed digital textbooks.

“This is not a call for another person or organization to come forward to keep the same conference running the same way into the future. Rather, it’s a call to reset and start over,” Wiley wrote on his blog. “This reimagining must be owned by the community. It must be driven by the community. And it would be inappropriate for me to try to facilitate that process beyond extending a brief invitation.”…

The announcement prompted reactions across blogs and Twitter feeds, with some commentators saying that the announcement represented a fracturing of the tenuously aligned coalition of open education advocates. Michael Feldstein, chief accountability officer at e-Literate, wrote on his blog that differences in the goals and preferred tactics of open education advocates could no longer be bridged. Tensions within the “coalition” of open education supporters had become insurmountable, he wrote.

Many people in the coalition had different goals, Feldstein wrote, such as increasing access to education, improving educational quality or promoting the values of education. They also had different strategies, such as lowering the cost of instructional materials, increasing their quality or fostering autonomy for educators. As awareness and adoption of open educational resources has grown, so have tensions, he said….”

The Crumbling of the OpenEd Coalition –

“The OpenEd coalition has long consisted of (at least) three different groups with three different primary goals:

Increase access to education by lowering cost of curricular materials
Increase quality of education by increasing quality of curricular materials
Promote values of education by fostering autonomy for educators and agency for learners…

Depending on how you interpret and rank these three priorities, your beliefs about strategy and values could be quite different. And there have long been signs that, in fact, there were very serious tensions among the views and priorities of the coalition members.

In 2015, Phil Hill and I gave a joint keynote at the OpenEd conference in Vancouver. The theme of our talk was precisely that OpenEd was a brittle coalition that could fracture if the coalitional challenges were not addressed. Phil, in his part, talked about the challenge and opportunity that faculty surveys about OER demonstrated. There was a lot to be accomplished. My half of the talk was about my experience as a climate activist and how hard it is to build a coalition that holds together and accomplishes its goals over time (hint hint)….”