Achieving the Dream Requests Applications for Open Educational Resource Degree Initiative

Between 20 and 30 Colleges Sought to Participate in Effort to Increase Completion

PRESS RELEASE

 

Atlanta, GA (February 24, 2016) – Achieving the Dream (ATD) today invited community colleges across the United States and Canada to submit applications for the Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative, a new effort to increase college degree completion rates and access by involving faculty in redesigning courses and degree programs using open educational resources.

The Initiative, announced at ATD’s annual DREAM conference in Atlanta, will enable between 20 and 30 community colleges, including both individual colleges and college systems, to create new OER Degree programs. Participating institutions will be expected to meet specific criteria, including a commitment to share data and materials, active support of high-level administrators and faculty champions, willingness to seek matching funds, and attention to underserved students.

Interested colleges may request the application by emailing oer@achievingthedream.org or by visiting the OER Degree Initiative page. Applications are due April 8, 2016.

“Open educational resources are valuable for colleges and their students in terms of invigorating teaching and learning, lowering costs, and laying the groundwork for degree programs that meet up-to-the minute student and employer needs,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Community colleges are just beginning to use OER, so this Initiative will help build out a new dimension of the student success agenda.”

The results of a recent survey by the Independent College Bookstore Association found that only 11 percent of faculty who responded to a survey said they were currently using open educational resources.

In the short term, the Initiative intends to reduce costs for students and accelerate their progress through college, but ultimately it will create systems that connect curriculum and pedagogy to updated student learning outcomes.

The goals of the OER Degree Initiative are that students will complete their degrees at higher rates and at 25 percent less cost than those completing traditional degrees, and that faculty will redesign curriculum and pedagogy to better match student and employer needs. More specifically, the OER Degree Initiative will require participating colleges to offer OER courses by January 2017, and full OER degrees by the end of 2017.

At the completion of the Initiative, all approved OER courses will be available through a comprehensive, easily accessible online platform. Colleges also will be expected to have the infrastructure and know-how to sustain and expand the OER Degrees offered.

Achieving the Dream will serve as Initiative intermediary, managing grants to all the institutions, overseeing implementation, and ensuring programmatic fidelity. ATD will monitor college progress, provide guidance on change management and institutional transformation, and assure effective integration of OER Degree partner support and guidance.

The Initiative includes SRI International as the research and evaluation partner, Lumen Learning as the technical assistance provider, and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) as leader of the OER community of practice.

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Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

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