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Implementing an Administration of Justice OER/ZTC Degree

The OER/ZTC Degree Project at Taft College targeted the Administration of Justice Associate of Science Transfer Degree. This degree program has been offered since 2014 and is a highly sought-after degree program that provides students with the ability to work in the criminal justice field and/or transfer to a four-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree. This program also provides continuing education for existing law enforcement professionals who seek additional education to enhance and develop their skills for promotion. This degree was chosen because of its high enrollment and the lack of existing OER materials available made it difficult for first-generation and low-income students to purchase their required textbooks.

Submitted by Tabitha Raber, Administration of Justice, OER/ZTC Grant Director, Taft Community College 

Description of Degree Program:

The Associate in Science in Administration of Justice for Transfer degree provides a clear and direct route for transfer to upper-division work in the Administration of Justice major through structured and semi-structured opportunities for students to develop and master the knowledge, skills, and values consistent with the theory and application of Administration of Justice.

The program curriculum provides an examination of crime, crime control, the justice process, and justice institutions in the United States. The program emphasizes the structure and functions of institutions as a development of changes in theory and philosophy of justice in the United States.

This curriculum provides a solid foundation upon which to build an Administration of Justice Major at a four-year school. The degree guarantees transfer to a CSU as a junior.

Taft College AOJ description

Published on October 09, 2019

Motivation

Taft College is a smaller community college located in Kern County, California. It serves the community of Taft but also enjoys serving students from surrounding areas including Bakersfield, Shafter, Lamont, Arvin, Maricopa, McFarland, and Wasco. Taft College serves a population with some economic hardships. Many students are from lower socio-economic backgrounds and are first-time college students in their families. Taft college sought to provide all of their students with an opportunity to complete their education goals and/or pursue a career upon completion of their degree. The ZTC/OER grant program would allow students to save money by no longer requiring a textbook for every course. It was projected this program would improve student success and enhance student engagement.

Challenges

The largest challenge was the fact there was not a large quantity of existing OER materials in the Administration of Justice discipline. During their research and investigation, faculty discovered that only two courses had existing OER materials that would satisfy the basic needs of the course. The remaining materials would have to be created. While this posed some difficulties, they were lucky to have a significant number of government publications which could provide the needed information to teach certain points, concepts, theories, and practices of the criminal justice system. Some of this material was gathered and compiled into a textbook format. During this project, Taft College created two textbooks to support the Introduction to Corrections course (C-ID: AJ 200) and the Community and the Justice System course(C-ID: AJ 160). Unfortunately, as time progresses this information will become outdated, and eventually unusable. Furthermore, as this is government- or NGO-created content, the impetus or resources to update this content is negligible.

In the area of general education, there were significantly more OER materials available. Using these resources, Taft College adopted ZTC/OER textbooks that would satisfy the requirements to instruct the courses. Except for two science courses, the college was able to create a transfer degree pathway for Administration of Justice students wishing to complete their AS transfer degree. Although more materials were available for general education or other subjects, especially the hard sciences, many of them were not fully accessible, which required additional time and resources after adoption to make them accessible. For a small rural college, this is a nearly insurmountable problem.

OER/ZTC Degree Implementation

Taft College is implementing this project starting in the Fall 2019.

In the Fall of 2018, a presentation was made to the faculty to make them aware of the project and the progress achieved to date. Faculty were encouraged to take part in developing course materials using ZTC/OER. New faculty members joined the project at that point to create general education course materials. Upon completion of course materials in late spring 2019, we began involving other campus stakeholders. The Office of Instruction worked to identify the ZTC/OER courses which would be offered in the Fall 2019 Course Catalogue. Additionally, we worked with the bookstore to create a new page in their website to house all of the ZTC/OER materials in one location so students could easily find the materials.

Taft College Bookstore Website

Taft College has links to all of its ZTC materials on its bookstore’s website.

Results and Sustainability

We are still very early in the implementation phase of this project. We have been able to provide students with 43 courses (both in the Administration of Justice and general education courses) which provide significant savings to students who will not be required to purchase textbooks in those courses. We intend to complete student surveys at the completion of the ZTC/OER courses to determine student outcomes. This should provide the necessary feedback to determine how students felt about the savings, quality of materials and corresponding grades received in the course. After the first survey, we will have the information we need to determine what adjustments need to be made.

Sustainability will be problematic due to the need to update and maintain course content, as well as the ongoing need to work on accessibility. Without ongoing funding for these efforts, the continued use of ZTC materials may not be viable and Taft College may be forced return to using traditional commercial resources again. Additionally, a large percentage of the math and science courses have not transitioned to using ZTC materials which limits students’ ZTC-only course choices.

 

College Profile

Date Founded 1922
Campus Size 39 Acres
Service Area 767 Square Miles

2017-2018 Demographics

FTES 2,889
Average Class Size** 19
Average Age** 23.5

Race

Asian 1.8%
Black  5.8%
Filipino  1.3%
Hispanic  44.6%
Pacific Islander 0.8%
Native American 3.0%
White  32.7%
Mixed Race 9.6%
Other/Unknown 0.6%

Gender

Female  40.3%
Male 59.7%
*includes WESTEC students ** On-Campus students

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Top 5 Degrees for 2016-2017 Top 5 Certificates for 2016-2017
  1. Liberal Arts – Allied Health
  2. Life Science
  3. Liberal Arts – Communication
  4. Liberal Arts – Math & Science
  5. Criminal Justice Administration
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