Open Educational Resources (OER) are free, openly licensed learning materials available for anyone to use and share. Faculty are collaborating with the Center for Teaching and Learning to integrate our OER efforts. A CTL seminar on OER development is being offered in Spring 2020. Participants will adopt OER materials for a course they teach by replacing expensive textbooks and proprietary software with open tools that are easy for students to access and easy on their wallets.
OER can be anything from quizzes to video, but textbooks receive the most attention for two reasons. First, textbooks can be incredibly expensive and students often cite their cost as an impediment from passing, completing, or even enrolling in classes. Second, professors do not have to assign expensive textbooks, so we can help reduce the cost of higher education by using OER textbooks instead of high-priced commercial ones. High quality OER are easy to find thanks to sites like the Open Textbook Library, OER Commons, MERLOT, and CUNY OER for local examples.
CUNY and SUNY have received $4 million apiece from New York State in each of the last three years to support OER initiatives. Here at LaGuardia, several departments have been awarded grants to pursue OER. As a result, entire departments and individual professors are teaching with OER textbooks, course software, and ancillary materials (homework, lecture slides, readings).
The Math, Engineering, and Computer Science Dept. implemented OER at scale for gateway math courses taken by thousands of LaGuardia students. Professors in the Education and Language Acquisition Dept. adopted OER textbooks in language study courses as well. In the current academic year, the Natural Science Dept. is working on a major grant project to adopt OER for courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. The Library Dept. has provided training workshops for faculty across disciplines. These workshops introduce faculty to OER and address how they are part of the solution to the affordability crisis in higher education.
Stay tuned for an official announcement for the CTL seminar, “Teaching With Open Educational Resources,” to be held in Spring I 2020. Professors Alioune Khoule (MEC), Ian McDermott (Library), and Joshua Tan (Natural Science) are leading the seminar. They bring varied knowledge of and experience teaching with OER, especially in STEM disciplines.