Open Educational Resources Support Program Award Winners

PVAMU’s Textbook Affordability and Open Educational Resource (OER) Initiative Committee with support from the Office of Academic Affairs offered support awards to individuals who agreed to adopt and/or create OER material for their courses.

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Open Educational Resources Initiative

Textbook Affordability and Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative

In 2015, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) launched the state’s ambitious higher education strategic plan dubbed 60x30TX whose goal is to ensure that by 2030, 60% of Texans between ages 24-26 years should be holders of certificates or degrees. This means that the State wants to have an educated population, one where there is an increase in college completion rates while at the same time ensuring the graduates have employable skills. Above all, the strategic plan wants universities to look for ways to ensure that when the students graduate, they have manageable debt.

One of the goals of the Texas A&M University System’s strategic plan for 2016 to 2021 is to ensure that all the system schools remain affordable and accessible. This goal is amplified in the 2016-2021 Prairie View A&M University strategic plan. One way to support PVAMU students to timely complete programs they are enrolled in and to reduce the student debt burden is for the university to implement initiatives to eliminate or reduce the cost of textbooks.

The PVAMU OER Initiative Committee consisting of diverse university stakeholders has been assembled to achieve the following objectives:

  • Conduct an environmental scan of textbook affordability and use of OER at PVAMU.
  • Coordinate OER and textbook affordability efforts at PVAMU.
  • Advise PVAMU leadership on matters regarding OER and textbook affordability.
  • Coordinate the training of faculty, staff, and students of PVAMU on matters relating to OER.
  • Advocate for the implementation of OER at PVAMU, the Texas A&M University system, and at the State level.
  • Provide regular updates on the state of OER and Textbook affordability efforts at PVAMU.
  • Stay abreast of trends in Textbook affordability and OER initiatives.
  • Inform faculty members of OER grant opportunities.
  • Recommend best practices to implement OER or other Textbook affordability efforts.
Creative Commons - What does it mean?
Creative Commons – What does it mean? (by Martin Missfeldt / Bildersuche.org)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open educational resources (OER) eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully. One of the most common forms of OER are open-access textbooks that are free and accessible to students via multiple platforms such as an online link or PDF document. Unlike traditional textbooks, that come with restrictive copyright laws, OER use open copyright licenses like Creative Commons. For more information on this type of license, please visit Creative Commons. According to the 2017 Babson Survey, open resources are growing in popularity – almost 50% of faculty reported that they are aware of OER, and open-access textbooks are being adopted in introductory courses at rates that rival traditional books.

OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program

Prairie View A&M University was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating a willingness to drive adoption of open educational resources (OER). Institutional partners will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of schools advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. On average, the institutions who join as institutional partners increase the number of students impacted by OER by 158% after completing the first year of the program. To date, the program has resulted in $19.6 million dollars of additional student savings from OER.

PVAMU hosted the Houston Area OER Consortium

The Houston Area OER Consortium was established in 2018 to bring together institutions of higher learning in Houston and surrounding areas so that these institutions can learn from each other and work together to grow and entrench OER in the respective institutions. On 30th July 2019 PVAMU hosted the Houston Area OER Consortium that brought together 40 participants from 12 institutions including: Rice University, PVAMU, University of Houston, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, OpenStax, University of Houston Downtown, St Thomas, Houston Community College, and University of Houston Clearlake. The goal of the meeting at PVAMU was to develop goals and an official Mission statement for the consortium. Each institution was also encouraged to articulate its OER goals, and participants were also informed of upcoming OER events including the OpenStax Creator Fest that will be hosted by Rice University in March 2020 where faculty members in the Houston area can learn more about OER.

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