CCD Awarded $20K for OER Grant Program

Community College of Denver (CCD) was awarded $20,000 by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to continue with our Open Educational Resources (OER) development efforts.

The Colorado OER Grant Program, in association with the Colorado OER Council and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), was established to help improve student retention rates while reducing the costs of educational resources to students.

What Is OER?

OER are high-quality teaching, learning and research resources that permit use or repurposing and are legally available to students for free or a very low cost. CCD was one of 20 state-wide proposals that were funded.

OER Promises Big Savings for Students

OER is an innovative and promising practice for addressing affordability and student success in higher education. Use of OER has the potential to save our students hundreds of thousands of dollars in textbook costs each year. In a recent report, released by Achieving the Dream, “students saved between $66 and $121 per course.”

More importantly, students reported that they would use those savings toward other educational expenses.

Half the students surveyed reported that they would use their savings to cover college tuition and/or fees. Other common uses were covering personal expenses (48%), purchasing materials or supplies for other courses (43%), and taking additional courses (28%). Students explained that they “felt better” about taking classes now that they could spend less money on them and more on other necessities like food, gas, and rent.

Expanding Our Materials

As a clear strategy to increase student success, CCD advocates for and supports the use of OER  by giving our faculty and instructors the opportunity to adapt and develop relevant materials tailored to their classrooms.

The new grant funding, along with additional funds from the College, will allow CCD to continue our OER development efforts. To start, funding will support the completion and implementation of:

  • ART 110 (Art Appreciation)
  • BUS 216 (Legal Environment of Business)
  • COM 115 (Public Speaking)
  • ENG 121 and ENG 122 (English Composition I & II)*
    *OER efforts for these courses are not being paid for by grant funding.·   

 Moving Forward

CCD faculty and instructors are encouraged to start considering how they too can build OER for their courses. In order to make this happen, CCD is taking steps to collaborate with local entities and to provide the appropriate support for faculty and instructors.

CCD’s original grant proposal, “Expanding OER to Make Learning Affordable,” was championed by a steering committee, which is comprised of the director of teaching and learning, two full-time faculty members, one adjunct instructor, one instructional designer, one instruction technologist, one administrator, one student government representative and one librarian. This committee will work to increase the number of OER materials available to CCD students. The committee and CCD’s administration have also had active representation on tri-institutional and state-wide OER councils and conferences

In addition, the Auraria Library is eager to support OER across the campus and will provide workshops, consultation in identifying OER materials, host our created OER materials in the Auraria Institutional Repository, and host campus-wide events.

CDHE has also indicated that there will be grant funding available for OER development next year and possibly in the future.

Providing Open Educational Resources for students is a priority for CCD, as we recognize the major cost-saving benefit for our students. By taking this step, we are moving into a new age of electronic learning, and giving our faculty and instructors to the power to create the materials that work best in their classroom and for their students.

Questions about this project may be directed to Interim Director Teaching Learning Center & Online Learning Jennifer Ferguson.