A recent discussion transpired on the CCCOER community email group surrounding best practices for scaling up OER projects. Because this question comes up frequently for CCCOER members, we wanted to summarize that discussion to share via the blog.
The original question came from Jan Jarrell, a faculty member at San Diego City College:
Our administration would like to see more widespread adoptions of OER texts and low-cost/no-cost options for students. After attending the Open Education Conference last fall, it seemed to me that this can happen if there is institutional support (i.e., a coordinator or librarian dedicated to OER/Open Access, mini-grants for faculty, etc.). What is your experience? What are the most effective ways for community colleges to encourage/support OER?
Following are the responses Jan’s question received from other community email group members.
Nicole Finkbeiner, Associate Director, Institutional Relations, OpenStax
We focus on this as part of the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program. The institutions in the 2016-2017 cohort, on average, increased students impacted by OER by 150% in one year. Two community colleges near you that were a part of the cohort are College of the Canyons and Pasadena City College.
Here’s a webinar recording (past a registration page) that covers the basics of an effective institutional initiative.
Una Daly, Director, Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER)
We have a section of our website devoted to planning. You can read about developing an institutional plan for OER, faculty and student plans, and professional development plans here.
We also have many webinars on this topic from various community colleges. All of our webinars are recorded for easy viewing. In fact, we had an excellent webinar recently with Monroe Community College where they shared details of their most recent OER initiative that started in Summer 2017. Here are a few more on the topic.
I hope you’ll join us at the Online Teaching Conference in Anaheim, CA this year where many California educators will be sharing their OER projects.
Dr. Wm. Preston Davis, Director of Instructional Services, Extended Learning Institute, Northern Virginia Community College; CCCOER VP of Policies and Partnerships
Getting a statement of support for OER from your president and/or CAO would also help validate your efforts. It is important to provide support to faculty with grants, professional development programs, and library/instructional support as you get started. An OER champion can really get the ball rolling, but getting real buy-in from senior leadership is critical to widespread OER adoption. I recommend that you look at the case studies on the CCCOER website to see some different approaches to OER that might help you develop a plan for your institution.
Keep sustainability in mind also. With success comes increased pressure from other stakeholders who may be impacted by increased OER adoptions (publishers, bookstores, IT, etc.).
Amanda Taintor, Faculty Coordinator, Instructional Design and Distance Education; SLO Coordinator; ZTC Grant Coordinator, Reedley College
I second everything Preston outlined. On our campus, a faculty champion who could honestly speak to administrative support was the magic combo to help grow our OER movement. We also deployed a very simple textbook affordability survey to students and gave them room to provide any additional information. The flood of student quotes (424) desperately asking for relief from textbook prices has been our greatest weapon.
James Glapa-Grossklag, Dean, Educational Technology, Learning Resources and Distance Learning; Director, CCC Distance Education Captioning & Transcription Grant; Co-Coordinator, Technical Assistance, CCC Zero Textbook Cost Degree Program, College of the Canyons
Let me echo what others have said–successful OER initiatives that I’ve seen have the following characteristics:
- Public executive support (e.g., board, or CEO, or VP) to confer institutional legitimacy and remove bureaucratic barriers
- Active champion who can make the case with many different constituencies
- Local student data demonstrating that the problem of textbook affordability is real