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By Monica Sain

The CCCOER December Quarterly Meeting began the way all meetings should – with a hefty dose of bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced vegetables and fruit, and beverages (non-alcoholic, of course!) Approximately 15 people attended in person while about 30 attended online. Lively presentations, emphasizing the benefits of open textbooks lent themselves to lively questions and conversation. Presenters from Texas, Washington and California colleges discussed the best practices at their respective institutions.

Leslie Williams, Learning Disabilities Specialist at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California, gave the group a very warm welcome, plus discussed the challenges faced when attempting to encourage colleges (especially faculty) to adopt open educational resources. She also reminded the group how important it is to advocate for the adoption of these resources, as they provide a comprehensive education at a low cost for students.

Next, Angela Secrest, Director of Library Support at Houston Community College, discussed various ways to encourage community colleges to adopt open educational resources. For instance, she mentioned the importance of educating faculty about the benefits of using these resources, as well as dispelling the pervasive myths about open educational resources.

Jacqui Cain, an English instructor at Tacoma Community College, gave a preview of the open educational resource for basic skills English students she is currently developing. Sharing her project via CCC Confer, she demonstrated how she makes Victorian English literature (and even grammar!) interesting and accessible to her students (yes, even the non-English majors). Sidebar: This blog’s author will be sure to utilize this resource in future teaching and tutoring endeavors.

Then came an update on the CCCOER 2010 survey, led by Geoff Cain (assisted by Randy Fisher, who came all the way from Canada to take on the duty of master of ceremonies!).

Clare Middleton-Detzner, Research Associate at The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), wrapped up the meeting with an overview of her research, which answered questions about what motivates college faculty and students to use open educational resources. Una Daly of Foothill De Anza Community College District showed a video of students who participated in the ISKME research.

Over the remaining comestibles, attendees networked after the event. In other words, not only was the quarterly meeting an opportunity to learn more about best practices in OER, but it also provided a chance for CCCOER staff and attendees to get reacquainted, or to meet for the first time in person. And, for me, it was an opportunity to learn more about telecom for meetings; this experience gave our group a chance to practice our skills with VoIP.

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