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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Learn how to find and use OER materials in teaching and learning.

Information Services OER Grant Program

 

 

 

In order to increase OER course adoptions and encourage faculty exploration and innovation in finding new, better, and less costly ways to deliver quality learning materials to students, the College is providing incentives for faculty to convert courses currently using traditionally purchased materials to use OER material. An OER Grant  encourages creation of open educational resources that can be shared widely at the College and with higher-education institutions world-wide.  

The grant provides funding and staff support to faculty who wish to integrate OER into a course.

  • 2 Grant Categories
    • Adoption Grant: $500 for adoption and $1000 upon implementation in course
    • Creation Grant: Course remission or monetary equivalent for creation of OER

2019 OER Grant Recipients

Seven faculty created or adopted OER for their courses in fall 2019 resulting in saving students over $35,000 in textbook fees.

Derek Turner, Philosophy 

Form and Content: An Introduction to Formal Logic

Textbook published in 2019 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

"For many years, I had used one of the standard popular textbooks in my logic classes. But the publisher kept issuing new editions and adding bells and whistles that no one needed, while steadily raising the price. Logic is something that should be accessible to anyone who takes an interest in studying it. So I decided a couple of years to write a textbook that students at Connecticut College, or anywhere, could access for free. The book also differs from other standard textbooks in its reliance on fun, low-stakes examples involving dinosaurs, my dog and his friends, etc. The sillier the content, the easier it is to see the logical form."

Maria Rosa, Biology

Adopted and revised content for Invertebrate Biology: BIO 215 (Laboratory Course)

OER "will make my classes more accessible. I’m also working actively on assigning less reading and giving the students more meaningful reading/recall assignments. Not having a textbook means that I will have to be more creative in how I make sure the students are prepared for each class. With this grant I have developed OER plans for the 3 courses I taught at Conn in 2018. I plan to keep updating my OER plans, and hope to implement more of the resources I have been finding in future classes. Thanks to the support and the resources made available, I was able to locate and implement OER resources for 3.5 out of the 5 courses I have taught."

Kathy McKeon and Warren Johnson, Mathematics and Statistics

Adopted OpenStax Calculus for 100-level Calculus 3-course sequence (MAT 111 Calculus A, 112 Calculus B, 113 Calculus C)

"We have shared this information with the other faculty in our department and there is interest in investigating OER texts for other courses. Tina O’Keefe hopes to use one in MAT 226 this fall.  Finding an appropriate and quality OER text for the introductory statistics course (STA 107, 6-8 sections per year) is a short-term goal for the department. We anticipate this OER will have positive impacts for both the calculus students and instructors. With the cost of standard calculus texts over $200, many of our students would try to get by without purchasing the text, which has a negative impact on their learning.  The cost and quality of the OER we’ve selected should make a difference."

Rachel Black, Anthropology

Adopted material for Power and Inequality in a Globalized World: ANT 114

"I am trying to convert people and raise their awareness of the burden that expensive textbooks create." OER "will make my course more accessible. I also plan on discussing the OER initiative with my students. We will talk about how academic knowledge is produced and disseminated and how this creates issues of power and inequality."

Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies

Adopted and revised material for Spanish for the Professions: SPA202

"I will be creating course content entirely from OER materials. I will be incorporating some items from a textbook that I own, but again, the students will not be purchasing anything for the course. I hope the implementation of OER in my course will provide a richness of materials and expose the students to bilingualism in legal and medical fields from a variety of perspectives. I also believe that OERs will facilitate a more interactive, hands-on environment, particularly with the use of scripted roleplays."

Yongjin Park, Economics

Adopted a free textbook for ECO407: The Economics of Conflict and Cooperation

Textbook Affordability Taskforce

The Course Materials Affordability Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, was developed to delve into the issues surrounding textbook costs. The Task Force’s work directly supports the College’s strategic plan, Building on Strength: A New Plan for Connecticut College. Our efforts specifically work toward Goal 3, Financial Strength: “Explore new ways to make a Connecticut College education affordable.”

Goals

  • Survey the ways that course material costs are mitigated across the campus
  • Recommend ways to streamline these efforts by reducing redundancy and increasing interdepartmental collaboration,
  • Design and propose new collaborative programs and approaches if warranted, and clearly communicate this work to the community.

Participants

Margaret Bounds, Office of Sustainability

Jamila Ezbidi, ‘19, SGA President

Noel Garrett, Academic Resource Center

Laura Little, Walter Commons & Slavic Studies

Roxanne Low, ‘19, Student representative

Sean Martin, Financial Aid

Ariela McCaffrey, Information Services (Research Support and Curricular Technology)

Jessica McCullough, Information Services

Kathy McKeon, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Recommendations

  • Collect and share more information to assist faculty in making textbook selections and to develop new programs to support students with textbook-related costs. 
  • Add question about textbook use to All-Campus Evaluation.
  • Use Student Advisory Boards (SABs) to advocate for the OER Program, use of Course Reserves, and gather information from students about the use and cost of textbooks and share it with faculty.
  • Share data about course material costs with faculty.
  • Improve communication to students to help them make informed decisions about acquiring course materials. 
  • Increase awareness of existing programs to first-year students earlier.
  • Require student advisers to share information about course materials to students during orientation.
  • Include more information about ways to get course materials in Over the Hump and other orientation materials.
  • Provide information to first-year students at the library following registration in August.
  • Encourage students to donate textbooks to the lending library.
  • Better advertise price-matching at the College bookstore to students, and explain how it works.
  • Improve communication between faculty and staff so they may better support students. 
  • Include textbook affordability information in FYS Moodle site for faculty and staff advisers.
  • Improve coordination about popular/expensive books between ARC and the Lending Library. 
  • Encourage faculty to place textbooks on reserve. 

*Continue these discussions through the creation of a committee, task force, or another mechanism in order to increase communication and collaboration between faculty, staff, and students to mitigate the cost of course materials.

OER Explorers 2018

May 2018 - OER Explorers committee formed

Purpose: Explore programs, funding sources, and support models for adopting Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College.  Consider challenges and roadblocks for faculty. Recommend a program and develop an implementation plan. The Committee’s work should be completed by August 15, 2018.  Members will be advocates for open and accessible course materials to reduce the total cost of education.

Members: librarians, staff and faculty from the College

Kathy Gehring, Beth Labriola, Noel Garrett, Kate McDonald, Joseph Schroeder, Frida Morelli, David Chavanne, Lyndsay Bratton, Karen Gonzalez Rice, Jacob Stewart, Rebecca Parmer

OER Explorers - Series of Workshops

May 10 - What is OER?

May 30 - Review of existing OER programs

June 25 - Suggestions for program design at Connecticut College

July - Create OER grant proposal and solicit feedback from committee

August 9 - Next Steps

OER Presentations to faculty

- May 24, 2018 - Improve Learning & Decrease Educational Costs: The Case for Open Educational Resources

- June 5, 2018 - Open & Affordable Educational Resources

 

Open Access Week

- October 22 - 26, 2018 - OER and Your Course: Integrating open content into the curriculum

IS: Kathy Gehring, Ariela McCaffrey, Lyndsay Bratton, Becky Parmer

Beth Labriola, Registrar

Noel Garrett, ARC

Kate McDonald, Biology/ ARC

Joe Schroeder, Psychology

Frida Morelli, Italian

Dave Chavanne, Economics

Karen Gonzalez Rice, Art History

Jacob Stewart, Chemistry

May 10 - What is OER?

May 30 - Review of existing OER programs

June 25 - Suggestions for program at Connecticut College

July - Create OER grant proposal and solicit feedback from committee

August 9 - Next steps