A press release from Oakland Community College states that more than 10,000 students have benefited from a faculty-led initiative at the college.

A press release from Oakland Community College states that more than 10,000 students have benefited from a faculty-led initiative at the college.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

OCC adopts ‘open educational resources’

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published April 19, 2023


OAKLAND COUNTY — For as valued as higher education is in the United States, the rising cost to attend college has been widely criticized.

Some have attempted to ease the burden in the form of open educational resources, which, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s website, are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain.

An open license refers to a license that respects the intellectual property rights of the copyright owner and provides permissions granting the public the rights to access, reuse, repurpose, adapt and redistribute educational materials.

A press release from Oakland Community College states that faculty at OCC are helping students with the cost of college, reducing barriers and improving completion rates by adopting open education resources for their classes. 

Those resources encompass free and low-cost teaching, learning and research resources with legal permission for open use, including textbooks, videos, labs, course modules, assignments and assessments, the release states.

Using such resources in in person and online classes has saved students more than $1 million since the college began tracking OER usage in winter 2020, the press release states.

The release states that according to national studies, statistics show students who use the free resources have a higher completion rate.

The release cited a 2019 study by Clinton & Khan that found that courses with open textbooks had withdrawal rates that were 29% lower than courses with commercial textbooks.

“We know it is working when it comes to completion as well as cost savings. Financially, we are doing a wonderful thing and also helping retention,” OCC English faculty member and OER facilitator Tara Broeckel stated in the release.

According to the release, more than 10,000 OCC students have benefited from the faculty-led initiative as of fall 2022.

The college said that, without that option, students take fewer courses, may not register for a course or may decide to not purchase the required textbook and earn a poor grade without it, or they may ultimately drop a course. 

OCC faculty librarian Wendy Kamps Tsao said in the release that the license means that faculty can change the materials to meet their needs.

Broeckel has been able to personalize learning by tailoring textbooks, lesson plans and language on quizzes to ensure it is appropriate for the college’s demographic, according to the release. 

OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano provided a statement via the release.

“Teaching innovation, especially OERs, is near and dear to my heart because a relatively small financial investment yields big results for years to come,” he stated. “This is a model of how supporting faculty innovation with modest resources can have an outsized impact on our students.” 

For more information, visit https://libguides.oaklandcc.edu/oer/.