Penn State Lehigh Valley holds 3rd annual Open and Affordable Showcase

a female professor smiling in front of a classroom

Alison Bonner, assistant teaching professor, mathematics, presents her Lightning Talk during the recent Open and Affordable Showcase at Penn State Lehigh Valley. Bonner was presented with the Lehigh Valley Open Champion Award for her talk.

Credit: Penn State

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — A growing number of faculty from across Penn State are exploring or utilizing open educational practices in their classroom instruction. The agenda for the third annual Open and Affordable Showcase, recently held at Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV), focused on the sharing of experiences and perspectives on open education. For the first time, the event reached beyond the Lehigh Valley to invite faculty and staff from across Penn State’s eastern Commonwealth Campuses to present and participate.

The daylong event celebrated open education work happening across Penn State and offered professional development opportunities for faculty and staff interested in OER, open pedagogy and more. The event was sponsored by the PSU-LV Library and Academic Affairs. Open education is viewed as a means of achieving teaching and learning goals in an equitable, inclusive classroom environment. Many faculty have embraced these methods and see them as a way to make students’ Penn State experience more affordable and engaging.

“We launched this 1-day conference in order to help our PSU-LV community celebrate open education work happening at our campus, and to connect, collaborate, and grow together around open education,” said Jen Jarson, head librarian, who co-organized the event with Elizabeth Nelson, reference and instruction librarian. “This year, we were excited to open the event to colleagues from other Penn State campuses in the region to support new connections, collaborations, and inspiration. We were joined by presenters, panelists and attendees from the Abington, Berks, Brandywine, Harrisburg, Hazleton and Schuylkill campuses.”

The day began with opening remarks from Tina Q. Richardson, PSU-LV chancellor, and a welcome from the library. Presenters and topics included:

  • “Open Education for Equity in Teaching and Learning”, a cross-campus faculty panel discussion featuring panelists Samantha Beebe (Lehigh Valley); Tara Beecham (Berks); Daniel Jackson (Lehigh Valley); and Christina Riehman-Murphy (University Libraries / Abington)
  • Lightning Talks, featuring PSU-LV faculty members Alison Bonner, Mark Capofari, Lisa Guise, and Nicole Moschberger, and Penn State Commonwealth Campus faculty members Meghan Gillen (Abington), Hannah Mudrick (Harrisburg) and Michael Polgar (Hazleton)
  • “Transforming and Innovating with Open Education (TIOE) Initiative Snapshot”, featuring Andjela Kaur, PSU-LV; introduction by Aníbal Bernal-Torres, PSU-LV chief academic officer
  • Group discussions over lunch. Topics included “Documenting and Sharing OER Usage within Disciplines” facilitated by Larry Musolino (PSU-LV); “How Long Does It Really Take to Adopt and Adapt OER?” facilitated by Michelle Kaschak (PSU-LV); and “Open Education 101: The Basics and Benefits” facilitated by Elizabeth Nelson (PSU-LV)

As the final event of the showcase, Bonner, assistant teaching professor of mathematics, was presented with the Lehigh Valley Open Champion Award for her Lightning Talk. This award helps celebrate open education-related work on the PSU-LV campus with respect to three domains: work that has made an outstanding impact on teaching and learning; work that has made an outstanding impact on reduction of costs for students; and work that shows outstanding innovation, creativity or originality.

Bonner’s talk, “Going All In for OER,” discussed her commitment to converting all classes she teaches to OER materials. Bonner said she believes in providing a positive environment for student learning — an environment that should extend to include open and affordable, frustration-free access to all course materials, assignments, and assessments whenever possible. The work presented by PSU-LV faculty during the showcase’s Lightning Talks was eligible for the award. Attendees at the showcase participated in a crowdsourced voting process, using the domains specified above as criteria, to determine this year’s winner.

Jarson and Nelson said they were thrilled at the response from this year’s event.

“We want this to be an event that fosters meaningful connections among colleagues supporting open education. By expanding this event to include colleagues from other campuses this year, we were excited to see these connections grow further, even including discussions of cross-campus research projects,” Nelson said.

Open education, as a means for promoting equitable access to education, has been made a priority goal in both Penn State’s strategic plan and the University Libraries’ strategic plan, and linked to Penn State’s land-grant mission. For more information on OER at Penn State, visit

Support is available for those who are exploring open educational practices for their own work or teaching. Visit this link to request a consultation, or use this form.