Our first OER (Open Educational Resource)

Protein Drug Discovery & Development

When I started my new position at the Faculty of Pharmacy, it was clear that I would be going to do more formal teaching than before. Even though I have lectured before, I typically was only modifying a conference presentation in which I presented the research work from our laboratory. However, that does not fly for undergraduate students, and hence I am assembling lectures from scratch. Although there is much hype about Open Science, there are few or no open educational resources for the topics that I know to teach: genetic and protein engineering, protein drugs, biologics.

Because I think, that there should be more openly available teaching material, I decided to make my lectures openly available. However, I soon realized that it is very difficult to replace copyrighted material with free alternatives such as public domain or Creative Commons-licensed material. 80% of the images and illustrations are easy to replace, the next 15% take you as much time as the first 80%, and for the last few images it seems impossible to find copyright-unencumbered alternatives. In the end, I generated the lion share of material myself. For this specific lecture, I have not found any usable image of Judah Folkman. Needless to say that if money was not an issue, I could just buy one for a few hundred bucks, but it still would not be possible for others to reuse it. As a temporary solution, I drew an image myself. I am not good at drawing, help me out it if you can!

Today, I have finally uploaded my first lecture to the Library of Open Educational Resources: https://aoe.fi/#/materiaali/1212. It was an introductory lecture to Protein Drug Discovery & Development for BSc students of Pharmacy (course PROV-105), which dates back to September 9th, 2020. The Library of Open educational Resources is maintained by the Finnish Ministry of Education. I also made an entry to Merlot collection (which is perhaps the biggest OER catalog): https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=773405613.

However, I am not entirely satisfied with the situation, since I prepared the lecture using Google Slides. Why Google slides? Sadly, it is the only functioning real-time collaborative presentation software. Due to this, the original version of the lecture slides is not available from aoe.fi. However, there is a link to the Google Slides. I have obviously included the same presentation in PDF and ODF format after converting it and all the editable source files (mostly in SVG format). And if the collaborative online editing of LibreOffice should finally become usable, we will probably switch to using that instead of Google Slides. The live online version is the more useful resource. In addition to the fact that this is the original version of the slide show, it will be also updated regularly (since I will give this lecture repeatedly), while the uploaded PDF/ODF file will become more and more obsolete over time.

I have meanwhile managed to upload another lecture to https://aoe.fi. All of my future contributions will be available from my collection page.