By Anyi Fomengia:
As more and more schools invest in the adoption and adaptation of open educational resources (OER), some institutions are taking it a step further. In partnership with Achieving the Dream – and in some cases, independently – a number of community colleges around the country are piloting OER Degree Programs.
An OER Degree is designed to give students the opportunity to pursue a full undergraduate degree without having to purchase and course materials. For many students, a textbook can cost as much as tuition for a community college course, so this is a much-needed relief valve for economically disadvantaged students.
The number of OER degree programs is increasing rapidly – here are just a few examples:
- Referred to at MC as a Z-Degree
- 3,400 students in 200 zero-cost sections saved about $340,000 spring semester 2017
- 96% enrolled on the first day were still enrolled at the end of the semester
- Instructors use OpenStax OER materials in the classroom
- 3/4th of the students are on financial aid
- 3/4th of the students are working
- 3/5th of the students are parents
- 14% are homeless
- 1st generation to college and immigrants
- 45% are food insecure
- Students have saved $400,000 in textbook costs because of the program
- 96% of students who start a class finish it
- 82% complete with an A,B, or C
- 60% of their students have economic struggles
- Achieving the Dream grant helped students save hundreds of thousands of dollars in one semester alone
- Just began using OER this fall 2017
- Classes available in psychology, biology, and their student success seminar
- Books are available the first day of class
- College’s OER Taskforce hopes to expand and institutionalize OER classes.
You can find out more about the Achieving the Dream initiative here: http://achievingthedream.org/resource/16746/launching-oer-degree-pathways-an-early-snapshot-of-achieving-the-dream-s-oer-degree-initiative-and-emerging-lessons, or from Lumen Learning at oerdegrees.org.