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OER Degree Initiative to Fund 20-30 Colleges to Develop OER-based Degrees

March 7, 2016

Achieving the Dream (ATD) has announced the Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative, an opportunity for public two-year colleges in the U.S. and Canada to apply for funding  to develop OER-based degrees to increase completion rates and access by involving faculty in redesigning courses and degree programs using open educational resources.

Achieving the Dream, Community Colleges CountAn OER-based degree, sometimes referred to as a Zero-Textbook-Cost degree, is a pathway to a degree or credential with no textbook costs because all the courses have been redesigned to use  open educational resources (OER) for instructional materials. OER-based degrees have been gaining in popularity over the last few years particularly at community colleges where students can save 25% or more on the cost of attendance.

The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has been a leader in developing OER-based degrees with Tidewater Community College and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) each offering these degrees.  Early research has shown that their students enrolled in these pathways are doing as well or better than students in the same courses using expensive commercial textbooks.

Between 20 and 30 community colleges will be selected to develop new OER Degree programs, including both individual colleges and college systems. Participating institutions will be expected to meet specific criteria, including a commitment to share data and materials, active support of high-level administrators and faculty champions, willingness to seek matching funds, and attention to underserved students.  Additional partners in the grant include Lumen Learning, the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER), and SRI International.

Applications may be downloaded from the OER Degree Initiative page and are due back April 8, 2016.

The recording from the March 10 informational webinar to review the program and answer questions from interested applicants is now available.   Slides and resulting FAQ can now be downloaded as well.

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