Photo: Tallahassee Community College’s Jim Smart, associate math professor and champion of open educational resources.
“We chose two high-enrollment subjects that are often gateway courses for students going into business and STEM fields,” said Smart. “ This initiative gave us an opportunity to collaborate and get creative about using OERs to deliver the best learning experiences we can provide.”
Open educational resources include any educational content published in the public domain or with Creative Commons licenses that freely allow for sharing, modification, remixing and redistributing the content. In addition to aligning content with Florida’s state learning outcomes, TCC faculty members tailored the materials to fit how they teach math in the classroom.
“The collaboration we saw between math faculty at Tallahassee Community College is an ideal model for other higher education institutions,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning, which provides technical support for the TCC program. “Faculty members built on the best work of peers from around the country, but had full control to customize and adapt OER courses with Florida students’ success in mind.”
For TCC, using OERs has been a win-win proposition for students and faculty. In addition to freedom and flexibility in the course content, instructors love being able to start teaching on the first day of class because they know students have access to the materials. Students like being able to access course content right inside Canvas, the learning management system, and they are thrilled when they do not have to buy a pricey textbook. Even TCC’s District Board of Trustees, when they saw how much money the OER courses save students, had no trouble approving a small course fee to ensure the program’s sustainability.
After experiencing the tremendous impact of OERs in gateway math courses at TCC, Stringer sees great potential for OER-driven course redesign in math as well as other disciplines, at TCC and beyond.
“This is an opportunity for faculty from different institutions and disciplines to work together to create something that is hugely valuable to our entire state,” said Stringer. “Many Florida students jump from institution to institution. Using state standards and course objectives, we can design a better-aligned curriculum that ensures students are learning the same information across the board. Every Florida student should experience the benefits of affordability and access that many TCC students enjoy today.”
About Tallahassee Community College
Tallahassee Community College is one of the nation’s top community colleges. Every semester, more than 14,000 students choose TCC as the next step in their education. Many are preparing for transfer to one of Florida’s state universities. Others are learning the skills they need to move directly into rewarding careers in healthcare, public safety, information technology and other growing fields. TCC serves the counties of Gadsden, Leon and Wakulla in Florida’s Big Bend region.
About Lumen Learning
Lumen Learning provides well-designed, low-cost digital course materials that help colleges and universities offer the best education to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status. Created using open educational resources (OER), Lumen’s complete, customizable college courses save time and effort for instructors designing OER courses, while students save millions in textbook costs. Lumen’s course list includes 70+ high-enrollment college subjects. More than 60 colleges and universities across the U.S. have used Lumen-supported OER courses for traditional, online, blended and personalized learning delivery. Ongoing efficacy research suggests students who use Lumen do significantly better than students in sections using other course materials. Educational resources created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Visit us at lumenlearning.com. Follow us on Twitter at @LumenLearning.
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