Meet the Open Texas Committee Members: Jessica McClean (Digital Experience)
Name: Jessica McClean
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Where do you work?
University of Texas at Arlington
What do you do there?
Director of OER
Where did you go to school?
Undergraduate – University of Georgia, Masters – University of Texas at Austin
Where is your hometown?
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I was born in the UK and lived there until I was 12. Occasionally people say they can still hear a hint of an accent slipping out.
How did you get involved with the Open Texas Conference?
I was a presenter at the 2021 Open Texas conference, and I found attending the other sessions incredibly valuable. When I saw the call for volunteers this year, I was excited to help organize this year’s conference.
What was your first impression of Open Texas?
I was really blown away by the amazing work that is being done around the state. There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience in our community.
The interest in open education seems to be growing. Why do you think that is?
I think the move to online learning over the past few years has encouraged all of us to rethink the way we structure and design our instructional resources. I’ve spoken to a lot of instructors who reexamined their syllabi out of the necessity of changing modalities and found that there are huge opportunities for improvement. Many of them started by supplementing their course materials with a few open resources and now have ambitious plans to transform their courses to better engage students and improve outcomes. At the same time, there has been a growth in institutional support for projects like these, which incentivizes innovation. It feels like an exciting time to be involved in open education!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about presenting or attending Open Texas?
I would encourage everyone to attend! The conference has tremendous value for both experienced and novice OER practitioners. Open education is a growing field and we’re all constantly learning from each other, so I hope everyone also feels empowered to submit a presentation proposal, regardless of how much experience they have or how big their program is. Every Open Texas presentation I attended last year gave me at least a few useful tidbits to put into practice. I think it’s also an opportunity to join a great community and get support from peers around the state.