Projects Underway

Student Success and Affordability through the use of Open Educational Courses

Marty Christofferson

Project Team
  • Sophia Georgiakaki, TCCC
  • Amber Gilewski, TCCC
  • Tony DeFranco, TCCC
  • Bob Yavits, TCCC

Tompkins Cortland Community College


Tier Two

Project Abstract:

2013 IITG – Project Narrative
Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) along with its partner schools and the SUNY Center for Professional Development will create a process to scale the adoption of OER use amongst SUNY Faculty. Based on prior results in the Kaleidoscope courses - the average improvement in student success (grade C or above) across all courses increased by 15% for low-income students and 11% for all students.

Deliverables will include:
1) SUNY OER Colloquium - jointly developed by the CNY OER Community College Consortium (TC3, Finger Lakes, Cayuga, Mohawk Valley, and Onondaga) and SUNY CPD – The goal of this Colloquium will be to help faculty adopt existing, “ready to go” open courses currently offered at TC3. Teams of faculty across the country have developed a series of open courses that have already been delivered to over 3000 students. The results of this project, called Kaleidoscope, have been excellent. Two of TC3’s faculty, one in Psychology and one in Algebra, have become leaders in this project. Other faculty in the consortium will be delivering the courses in the Fall of 2013. They will present and share with attending faculty the courses they have developed. Faculty who attend will leave the 1-2 day session with:
a. An understanding of the concepts and goals of this program
b. Completed course outlines
c. Learning modules
d. OER used in the course
e. Concrete assessments of CLO’s (Course Learning Outcomes)
f. Necessary LMS components to start their own online courses. Two Open Courses will be created in the ANGEL LMS, which can then be freely distributed for replication as an LMS common cartridge that can also be imported into Blackboard.

a. Provide the administrative support necessary for the colloquium - Online registration, pre- and post-event communications, development and support of event/registration website, registration and event reports, event advertising/promotion to SUNY academic community, production of conference materials, name badges, and attendance lists, invoicing and usage of CPD points for attendee registration, post event online survey / evaluation
b. May build this into one or more of the new certificate programs we’re developing for faculty and for instructional designers
c. Facilitate and support the SUNY Community of Practice on OER via the SUNY Learning Commons.
3) Informational and Training Videos – The first video will provide an overview of the concept of open courses. It will be intended to grab the attention of Senior Executives and Faculty. The second video will provide more detail to faculty about the process hoping to answer more detailed questions.
4) Assessment – develop criteria and methodology to measure the outcomes listed below. The initial baseline data will only be available from the CNY community college consortium.
1) Textbook savings
2) Increased student retention
3) Improved student success
4) Increased faculty control of the content of instructional materials (textbooks, etc.)

TC3 has been part of a NGLC (Next Generation Learning Challenges) Grant to promote Open Courses using OER. The name of this project is Kaleidoscope. During the process of this project we have learned what it takes to work with schools and to help faculty develop these materials for adoption. TC3 faculty, along with faculty at six other colleges across the country, started the process of converting eleven existing courses to “Open Courses.” In 2011, TC3 faculty were part of the development team for three courses: psychology, algebra, and biology. These courses, which fully utilize open source textbooks and other open resources, are now ready for adoption by other faculty. This year we are on track to expand this process to include four other Central New York Community Colleges: Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Cayuga, and Onondaga. Existing resources from the NGLC grant are being used to help facilitate the course adoption in these schools. Our goal is to combine these resources with IITG to scale the success we have experienced in overall course improvement, retention, student success, textbook savings, and faculty growth and development. Unlike the development of new OER, our focus will be using existing OER. There has been a lot time and money spent on the development of OER, which was a necessary first step. We believe enough content has been developed so that now more energy can be put into helping faculty actually use OER.
This project not only has a lot of benefits for students, but it also provides a launching pad for many of the Power of SUNY Goals.
1) Scalability - These courses are open and are Creative Commons licensed. They can be easily adopted by other faculty. Our hope is that this grant becomes a stimulus for this initiative.
2) Innovative and Competitive – As we look out into the horizon, and see the competition from the private sector, MOOC’s, and other open initiatives, we see SUNY positioned at the forefront of delivering what students are looking for – high quality and affordable education. At approximately $1,000 per student per year for textbooks, 465,000 SUNY students spend about $465,000,000 per year on textbooks.
3) Open SUNY – The concept of this project would dovetail wonderfully with the new Open SUNY initiative, giving students not only the flexibility online courses offer, but also courses that are affordable and that have proven to be successful.
4) SUNY Learning Commons – The courses and materials can be made available on this platform.
5) Sustainability – Once we move this project forward, we believe faculty will see the value in creating or adopting courses that use OER, and will be willing to invest their time, and potentially a small registration fee, to attend workshops like the one that we hope to launch. The combination of this fee, along with SUNY CPD support, will be used to develop future events. There are many other courses that have been created by Kaleidoscope and more will be developed this year. Our focus has been on three programs: General Studies, Business, and Computer Science. Ultimately, we foresee an annual SUNY OER Colloquium/Summit.

Project Outcome:

In addition to other resources, the colloquium report illustrates initial success with OER adoption.