Empowering Education: A Journey into Open Educational Resources and AI Integration

Abstract: This blog post narrates a transformative learning journey from a conventional approach to education, involving proctoring fees and certification barriers, to embracing open educational resources (OERs) and advancing practices in open education. The author, an Open Ranger for St. Lawrence College, shares insights into the principles of OERs and the positive impact of these freely accessible resources on teaching and learning. The narrative unfolds with a design sprint for an Introduction to Market Research OER, highlighting a module on artificial intelligence (AI) and market research. The post concludes with reflections on building a community of practice and provides resources for finding open education materials, including those related to AI in education. (ChatGPT, 2024).

Artificial Intelligence 2017 San Francisco” by O’Reilly Conferences is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

As part of the learning plan for one of the college-level courses that I have taught at St. Lawrence College, I required students to pay a $100 proctoring fee to take an exam for a Meta certification. I thought at the time this was a reasonable request as the exam would give a digital certification badge that could be displayed on Linked In. The rest of the certifications in the course from Hubspot, Google, etc. were free. 

I was naively surprised at the number of students who privately messaged me to tell me that they couldn’t afford the $100 fee and asked if a screenshot of the course completion would be sufficient. It was at this time that I made a plan to only use free and open source learning materials going forward so I wouldn’t create additional barriers for students, many of whom were already working one or more jobs and trying to pay their bills. 

What are open education resources? 

Open education resources, or OERs are specifically created to be open to anyone, anywhere. OERs are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.

Open license refers to a license that respects the intellectual property rights of the copyright owner and provides permissions granting the public the rights to access, re-use, re-purpose, adapt and redistribute educational materials. As an instructor who wanted to be able to use no-cost materials for my students, OERs have been a fantastic resource for course planning. 

A few years ago, I was able to review an existing Digital Marketing Analytics OER and go through some of the ecampusOntario open library to explore all of the resources available. I was able to find so many great texts, articles, videos, assessments and case studies that I could use to teach students, including the opportunity to adapt them according to the Creative Commons License

Open Rangers and community of practice

In 2023 I had the chance to be selected, along with Michael Carter, as an Open Ranger for St. Lawrence College. Open Rangers is the term eCampusOntario selected for the individuals who started a successful community of practice promoting OER and open education practices (OEP) at post-secondary education institutions in Ontario Canada. Open Rangers form a network of educators and practitioners interested in supporting the advancement of open education within their institution. Open Rangers are individuals who are passionate about education as a public good, and who promote OER as a sustainable approach to education.

My appointment as an Open Ranger included access to an in-depth training course on OERs including how the licenses work and the most commonly used tools. Part of this role is to share these resources with other SLC staff and instructors, and Michael and I were able to collaborate on a webinar at the end of the 2023. 

As the appointment of being an Open Ranger wraps up, I was able to complete a design sprint with the winter term Market Research and Consumer Behaviour course. This design sprint was the co-creation of a module for the Introduction to Market Research OER that I have created with the support of eCampusOntario. 

The creation of this OER was inspired by my desire to have content that was not only available through a Creative Commons license, but includes a variety of voices in a Canadian context. I was able to work alongside Abraham Francis, who created a module about research with indigenous folks, and include a land acknowledgement centred around education by Paul Carl. Julie Sullivan was able to offer edits and suggestions to ensure that the resource is accessible. The personas and examples used throughout the OER are designed to reflect the communities in Canada in which we live. The OER lives on a Pressbooks content management system, which means it can easily  be updated and edited anytime. 

Co-creation through a design sprint

The last module of the OER explores artificial intelligence (AI) and Market Research. This was an incredible opportunity for me to create a lesson plan for AI and Market Research as part of my existing class, as well as to get feedback from students to help create this last module. 

We started with the following lesson plan:

Lesson Purpose: 

  • To provide insight into what are important considerations related to bias and market research related to AI.  
  • To explore OERs on the topic of AI.
  • To support content from a student perspective in the co-creation of an OER module on AI and market research.  
  • By the end of the lesson, students should have an understanding of AI, its applications in market research, potential biases, and the impact on market research. They should also develop presentation and reflection skills through collaborative and individual activities. 

Learning objectives: 

  • Experience and engage with AI technology through the Quick, Draw game. 
  • Reflect on personal experiences and thoughts regarding the recognition capabilities of neural networks. 
  • Analyze how AI can contribute to market research and identify challenges associated with it. 
  • Analyze the impact of AI on bias.

Prior to class: 

Assign these videos and readings to students before class: 

1. https://video.commonsensemedia.org/education/What_Is_AI_site.mp4 

2. This article on AI and market research: https://www.analyticsinsight.net/ai-powered-market-research-what-are-the-benefits/  

3. SLC AI guidelines

4. https://www.qualtrics.com/m/assets/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/AI-in-MR-Final.pdf 

In synchronous class on Teams, Feb. 12, 5:30-7:30pm:  

1. (10 minutes) Icebreaker: Engage in a game of Quick, Draw and post a screen shot in the Teams chat of your results. Did the neural network recognize your doodle? Please share your thoughts on this technology. https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/  

2. (10 minutes) ChatGPT exercise: Ask students to put one of these prompts into ChatGPT:

a) What are the benefits of AI? 

b) What are the disadvantages of AI? 

c) How can AI help with market research? 

d) What are the challenges with market research? 

Students will write their answers in the associated Padlet and a participate in a short wrap-up discussion . 

3. (20 minutes) Lecture: 

– Review the findings of the CommonSense media video and Analytics Insight article 

– Present a short summary of the “How AI will reinvent the market research industry” white paper by Qualtrics.  

4. (40 minutes) Assign activity: Jigsaw learning. Students will be divided into their existing Assignment 2 client groups and go into Breakout rooms. 

Cohort 1 students will do a deep dive into AI and bias based on this OER activity: http://modelai.gettysburg.edu/2022/bias/ML%20Bias.pdf

The answer to the three questions in this activity will be submitted in the Sharepoint document.

Cohort 2 students will go through this OER activity using AI and qualitative research:

carrigan_jonathan_assessment_37.pdf (genaiteach.ca) The solution to this activity should be a short statement with a clear rationale, no longer than 200 words and will be submitted in the Sharepoint document.  

In synchronous class in person, Feb. 14, 4:30-5:30 and 5:30-6:30 

Jigsaw learning groups will do a short presentation of their findings with the class. 

  1. Jigsaw learning groups will do a short presentation of their findings with the class.  
  2. A follow-up MS reflection form will be submitted.  

Overall, the students had less prior knowledge about AI than I expected, but all of them had used ChatGPT at least once before. We were able to review existing St. Lawrence College guidelines for AI use and critically look at the advantages and disadvantages of AI. A significant portion of the class was looking at the biases in AI, and we were able to use two OER resources to do some jigsaw learning, using Model AI resources from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Here are some of the findings from the students, that were also shared in the Market Research OER. 

When the students were asked about some of the benefits from AI, here are a few of their answers:

“AI is incredibly helpful for generating content or questions about brands or products for various purposes like surveys. It provides a basic understanding of any topic, aiding in research and exploration.”

“When we discussed in class the structure of ChatGPT and realized that it consistently responds similarly to prompts of a similar nature, I was astounded. It’s incredible to know how one can identify responses generated by ChatGPT. Moreover, witnessing the pace and manner of AI evolution is truly fascinating. From its initial limitations to processing text, then images, and now even videos, the progression is remarkable. However, I hold optimism, hoping that innovators maintain control over AI advancement rather than AI controlling its own evolution.”

“One key advantage or benefit of AI is its automation as it can handle multiple time-consuming tasks and allows the human to finish more tasks than usual.”

“AI can complete certain tasks a lot faster than we can. If I need to edit a blog/caption or any copy, I will use Grammarly to edit the writing instead of doing it myself or asking someone else to do it – it’s a lot faster this way.”

“One key advantage or benefit of AI is its automation as it can handle multiple time-consuming tasks and allows the human to finish more tasks than usual.”

What’s next? Here are some resources

I am not sure if I have successfully created a community of practice at St. Lawrence College, but I will continue to promote through my professional network the value of open educational resources. As part of this appointment, I have been able to become part of an existing OER practitioners community of practice on Slack, where folks can share resources, look for help, find out about new resources and support each other on their journey to make learning accessible to as many folks as possible. 

The Market Research and Consumer Behaviour students from St. Lawrence College share some ways that they hope to continue to learn about AI over the rest of their college studies and beyond.

“I will try to keep on exploring different features of AI which sharpen my skills of prompting to AI as well there are various free courses.”

“I think it’s essential to commit to a continuous process and gain some hands on experience using AI through some internship and project. Those job skills are highly valuable for me.”

“Keep researching the latest AI trends/problems/ethical issues. Ask questions to our faculty members. Use it! Stay up to date and learn how to use it properly – keep practicing.”

“During studies, take AI courses, engage in practical projects, and join AI-related groups. After graduation, continue learning through online courses and pursue specialized AI certifications. Network with AI professionals, apply AI in marketing roles, and stay informed about industry trends through blogs and publications.”

Thank you to Dr. Lesley Wilton of Ontario Institute of Students in Education at the University of Toronto for providing many of the AI and Education resources below through the Introduction to AI in Education Course. Thank you to ecampusOntario for continuously promoting the need to develop and share open education resources. 

Places to find open education resources:












AI and education (AIED) open education resources:

AI Lab. AI Glossary. Retrieved from https://www.ailab.com.au/resources/ai-glossary/

AI and Inclusion. Retrieved from https://aiandinclusion.org/

Algorithmic Justice League. Retrieved from https://www.ajl.org/

Coding Happiness. (n.d.). Case Studies. Retrieved from https://codinghappiness.org/case-studies/

FuturePedia. Retrieved from https://www.futurepedia.io/

Indigenous AI. Retrieved from https://www.indigenous-ai.net/

Teo, W., Teoh, Z., Arabi, A., Aboushadi, M., Lai, K., Ng, Z., Pant, A., Hoda, R., Tantithamthavorn, C., & Turhan, B. (2023, February 19). What Would You do? An Ethical AI Quiz. CC BY 4.0

Miao, F., & Holmes, W. (2023). Guidance for generative AI in education and research. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000386693 

MIT OpenCourseWare. (2002). Techniques in Artificial Intelligence (SMA 5504) – Lecture 1. Retrieved from https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/6-825-techniques-in-artificial-intelligence-sma-5504-fall-2002/resources/lecture1final/

Mollick, Ethan R. and Mollick, Lilach, Assigning AI: Seven Approaches for Students, with Prompts (September 23, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4475995 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4475995

Mollick, Ethan R. and Mollick, Lilach, Practical AI for Teachers and Students (Aug 4, 2023). Available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwRdpYzPkkn302_rL5RrXvQE8j0jLP02j

Mollick, Ethan R. and Mollick, Lilach, Using AI to Implement Effective Teaching Strategies in Classrooms: Five Strategies, Including Prompts (March 17, 2023). The Wharton School Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4391243 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4391243

Nguyen, G. (2023, June 13). Digital Pedagogy Toolbox: Let’s make friends with chatgpt. BCcampus. CC BY 4.0 DEED

OAPEN Library. Teaching Critical Thinking in an Age of Digital Credulity. Retrieved from https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/20.500.12657/43835/1/external_content.pdf

OpenAI. Teaching with AI. Retrieved from https://openai.com/blog/teaching-with-ai

OpenVerse. Retrieved from https://openverse.org/

SAIL email newsletter sign-up: https://buttondown.email/SAIL

TLDR AI email newsletter sign-up: https://tldr.tech/

Vinchon, Florent; Lubart, Todd; Bartolotta, Sabrina; Gironnay, Valentin; Botella, Marion; Bourgeois-Bougrine, Samira; Burkhardt, Jean-Marie; Bonnardel, Nathalie; Corazza, Giovanni Emanuele; Glăveanu, Vlad; Hanson, Michael Hanchett; Ivcevic, Zorana; Karwowski, Maciej; Kaufman, James C.; Okada, Takeshi; ReiterPalmon, Roni; and Gaggioli, Andrea, “Artificial Intelligence & Creativity: A Manifesto for Collaboration” (2023). Faculty Publications, Department of Psychology. 1154.

Wheatley, A. (2020, May 12). The librairy. The LibrAIry. https://thelibrairy.wordpress.com/ 

Wikipedia. Glossary of artificial intelligence. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_artificial_intelligence


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