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Joanna Miller

By:
Joanna M. Miller, Ed.D. Dean of Distance Education at Contra Costa Community College District
Scott Hubbard, Math Professor and TLC Chair at Los Medanos College

A group of 30 faculty in myriad disciplines from across the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) came together June 4 to create, curate and implement open educational resources in their classes. The five-hour OER Hackathon, sponsored by the LibreTexts OER US Department of Education grant, enabled instructors and librarians to work collaboratively as well as independently in a day designed to minimize presentations and maximize results.

Diablo Valley College English Professor Anne Kingsley opened with a brief introduction and OER overview, where she provided multiple resources for faculty to peruse. LibreTexts founder Dr. Delmar Larson, a University of California Davis chemistry professor, followed with a quick walk-through of that site. At tables that buzzed with communal work, with lunch delivered in giant salad bowls and pizza boxes, faculty put their heads down and went to work. Los Medanos College Math Professor Scott Hubbard, who helped develop and offer fully free math classes at the Brentwood center, cruised among the tables, offering encouragement, expertise, and tips for a program that helps makes college affordable to all. “There’s so much OER out there right now for some courses, that a lot of the work is just curating and collecting them all into an easy-to-use format, which LibreText helps with. These faculty will end up saving their students tens of thousands of dollars in the fall and beyond, and we’re happy that the OER Hackathon gave them an opportunity to do that work.”

By the end of the day, as faculty shared their discoveries and accomplishments, pride turned out to be one of the results. A few had found and added existing resources to their class sites. Others located some resources that they wanted to combine. Others plotted their path to create and implement their own. And many discovered new collaborations with librarians or other faculty from sister colleges or like disciplines. Students who attended a Feb. 22 district OER event said that they believed that teachers who use OER in their classes care more about their students. Those students would have surely felt the love at the Hackathon, where faculty worked through a Friday to make learning more affordable for their students.

 

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