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OER to the Max: How one Community College is transforming its entire department through the use of open resources (Phillip Clark, Edward Coe, Donna Gaudet, et al)

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Robert Farrow
16 October 2012

The math department at SCC is making a concerted effort to adapt, create, and adopt open source materials for our students. To that end, groups of faculty have focused on replacing traditional textbooks and supplementary materials for specific courses with open source materials. Beginning in the Fall 2012 semester, and each semester thereafter, students in our standard, face-to-face Introductory Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and College Algebra classes will be able to obtain text-based and computer-based materials at no charge (or a very small charge for a bound, hard copy of the materials). These students will no longer need to purchase textbooks or ancillary online materials. Spring 2012 will see other courses coming on-board with OER materials including our Beginning Arithmetic 082 course and our Math142 College Math course.

The faculty teams have actively reviewed available materials and have made connections to our district curriculum and they have maintained our departmental philosophy of teaching mathematics for understanding. In many cases faculty have included their own contributions to the world of open educational resources and in turn freely shared those resources through sites such as youtube, livescribe, our department-developed website, or our department-driven, open-source, online homework system:

In this session, our faculty team will:

    Share samples of OER books and workbook materials

    Share samples of created resources including Livescribe videos, Softchalk lessons, Screencasts
    Share samples of a new OER book created for the ipad using the ibooks Author software
    Demonstrate WAMAP (open source math homework deliver system)
    Discuss co-development and sharing of libraries and course templates in WAMAP with other Maricopa District schools (Phoenix College, Paradise Valley)
    Demonstrate Score website (our in-house repository for activities)
    Discuss tips and tricks to get and keep faculty interested and evolved in such projects
    Discuss the class delivery systems in which the OER materials are utilized including hybrid and online classes and modified “flipped” in-person classes
    Discuss how our department has been transformed by our OER projects

The impact of these projects is real for our students. On average, the courses listed above enroll 1800+ students each semester. If we consider the cost of savings to our students (at a very roughly estimated average cost of somewhere between $75-$125 per student) we should see an overall savings of somewhere between $135,000-$225,000 for fall 2012 alone, or $270,000-$450,000 per year for our students. This is not the only impact, however. All materials we develop will be our own to use, reuse, revise and redistribute. We will never have another forced textbook upgrade from the publishers. We will not have to worry about digital licenses, registrations, and bundles. We will be able to edit materials instantly. We will share these materials as prototypical courses that we will willingly share with anyone, in the district or beyond. In short, we are taking OER to the max!

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Emily Cobe
2:22pm 27 January 2016

A really nice idea. I hope it was implemented successfully. I remember when I was in college I used to take som many notes than my hand hurt and the lack of books made it even harder on me. And this was the reason for buying academic papers through Well, I am ashamed to tell that but it was how it was and I didn't understood what I was learning and the professor wasn't that eager to explain it.

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