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The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.


Monday, June 26, 2017

OER Project Takes Off at Community Colleges

After its first year, Achieving the Dream’s Open Educational Resource (OER) Degree Initiative appears to be on track for success, according to the 38 community colleges taking part in the project.

The initiative intended to boost the use of OER for community-college courses as a means to reduce the cost for students. A new report released by Achieving the Dream said that “faculty at colleges participating in ATD's OER Degree Initiative are changing their teaching and that students are at least as or more engaged using OER courses than students in non-OER classrooms.”

The report estimated students saved an average of $134 on textbooks per course, although it also noted a more in-depth study was underway to determine true savings “given that not all students purchase textbooks at full price, and some OER savings may be offset by other costs.”

Among the strategies deployed by the initiative was targeting faculty who had experience using digital resources as part of online or hybrid courses and encouraging them to build on that experience in developing and selecting course materials for regular classes. The quality of the materials was the main factor for faculty; cost to students ranked second.

The report also outlined a number of “key actions” to increase faculty use of OER materials, including providing more training and support, better communication of the initiative’s long-term goals, enabling faculty to work together on OER materials to save time, offering incentives, getting noninstructional staff to assist with OER, and “getting students involved in evangelization.”

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