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Community and technical colleges are increasingly advocating for open educational practices and policies to fulfill their open access mission. Affordability can be a significant access barrier for the high percentage of non-traditional students at community college. Non-traditional students often work to support themselves and family members while they attend college. As funding cuts have lead to higher tuition costs, many are unable to afford the expensive instructional materials.
Faculty have responded by adopting open educational resources (OER) and open textbooks to make college more affordable for their students. In the process, they are improving instructional practices as they customize materials to meet the unique needs of students at their college. A focus on online and interactive materials and regional workforce education has been noted. College administrators and trustees noting these successes are proposing open policies to encourage the use of OER in an increasing number of disciplines and in district-wide implementations.
Hear case studies from members of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) at OCWC on how adoption and creation of OER and open textbooks has improved affordability and teaching practice.
Faculty at College of the Canyons in Sociology, Water Technology, and statistics have created and adopted OER and open textbooks saving students $235,000 over a single year. An OER repository and a flexible infrastructure for supporting the sharing of faculty developed learning objects has been developed. Their Dean of Distance Education leads the CCCOER Advisory Board representing the consortium at conferences throughout the world.
Maricopa District, one of the largest community college districts in the U.S., has endorsed “the development and use of OER to support innovative and creative opportunities for all learners,” in its 5-year District-Wide Information and Instructional Technology Strategic Plan. Math faculty at three of the district colleges: Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and Phoenix are sharing resources and strategies to provide multiple sections of high-enrollment math courses using OER. Pilots of OER math at three additional Maricopa community colleges will begin in Spring 2013. Scottsdale College alone has saved students over $200,000 in fall 2012.
CCCOER was founded in the Foothill–De Anza College District to create awareness and build a community of practice around OER at public two-year colleges. As proof of concept, the Collaborative Statistics textbook was openly licensed and imported into the Connexions repository at Rice University. The textbook was widely adopted by math faculty at De-Anza college and 20 other colleges in North America and has saved students at De-Anza over a million dollars to date.