Achieving the Dream is an organization that believes access to a high quality education in an inclusive environment is the right of all individuals and imperative for the continued advancement of a strong democracy and workforce. With a growing network of community colleges across the country, ATD has helped improve student success for more than 4 million students. Identified as a catalyst, they help colleges strengthen and build their capacity to ensure more students complete their college education. Thus students having more opportunity for economic success.
Essentially, Achieving the Dream’s mission parallels our belief that Education Makes Life Better. In a recent announcement, ATD is launching a nationwide initiative to develop Open Education Resources (OER). The initiative will assist 38 community colleges as they develop new degree programs. The intent is to provide quality resources to reduce or eliminate textbook cost, improve student engagement, and ultimately increase completion rates. The Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources (CCCOER), established in 2007, by the Foothill De-Anza Community College District, will facilitate the practice of using and sharing these resources.
What are Open Education Resources?
OER, also referred to as openly licensed free learning materials, have mixed reviews from academia. The negative side includes questions about the quality of the resources, accessibility concerns & arguments that the content is often not regulated or kept up to date. In addition, some faculty are reluctant to open up their content due to intellectual property and copyright concerns. On the other hand, research has supported that the free resources have drastically cut costs for students, improved GPA, and increased course completion in some cases. Schools like The University System of New Hampshire report savings of nearly $150k to students in textbook costs alone through their open education push.
A peer review of Open Education Resources adoption impact studies was compiled by Open Education Group. The review includes efficacy and perception data. It concludes stating “Over 5,000 students and faculty members have shared their perceptions across a dozen studies that have focused on perceptions of OER. In no instance did a majority of students or teachers report that the OER were of inferior quality.”
Assessing the quality of Open Education Resources has not yet been established and will likely be a question that continues to surface. Come back next week to learn more about how the SmarterMeasure™ assessment engine can deliver a custom assessment to determine efficacy and quality of OER.