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Thursday, October 18 • 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Examining the impact of Open Course Library materials on teaching practice and student success

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The purpose of this session is to present research that investigates the adoption of Open Course Library (OCL) courses within the WA CTC system. The Open Course Library project aims to create fully developed course content for 81 high enrollment courses in the Washington State Community and Technical College system. These materials will then be shared with an open license. The OCL project successfully developed 42 high quality courses through a year-long collaboration among 125 experts. On October 31, 2011, the first 42 courses were released as scheduled, and made available to stakeholders through multiple channels.
The immediate impact of the first 42 courses was significant. Within the first few months after its release, over 30,000 people from 125 different countries have visited opencourselibrary.org. But the most prominent result was its impact on lowering students’ textbook costs. The Student PIRGS estimated that the 42 faculty course developers and their departments will save students $1.26 million during the 2011-2012 school year, which alone exceeds the $1.18 million spent on creating the courses. These savings not only help Washington’s students afford a college education, but also provide a tremendous return on the original investment.
While the immediate impact on lowering students’ textbook costs was significant, it is unclear how OCL courses have been adopted within the WA CTC system, and how the adoption has influenced faculty’s teaching practices and student success. Our research focuses on faculty’s use of OCL materials to meet their professional needs, their perception and readiness of using OCL materials, and ultimately its influence on student success. Specifically, we seek to address the following questions:
•What are the barriers to the successful adoption of open course materials?
•What are the keys to the successful adoption of open course materials?
•What institutional policies are needed to support the adoption and use of open course
•How and to what extent, are open course materials being shared and used?
•How does the use of open course materials influence student success?
The study is currently underway. The participants of this study include faculty working for Washington community college system. A mixed methods approach (a procedure for collecting, analyzing and mixing or integrating both quantitative and qualitative data at various stages of the research process within a single study) will be used. Data collection consists primarily of survey, and phone interviews using a semi-structured interview protocol that was designed to capture faculty’s perception on the use of the OCL materials and other open educational materials. Cross-interview analyses will be conducted for each question in the interview guide.
While the study focuses on specific open educational materials, we anticipate that this study will shed light on the usefulness of the system to faculty and students. Additionally, we believe that we will gain insights on how to keep OCL course materials evolving, and hence increase sustainability.


Tom Caswell

Tom Caswell is Open Education Policy Associate at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). Tom’s current projects include running the Open Course Library, piloting a community college Open Learning Initiative (OLI) in Washington, and supporting the... Read More →
avatar for Boyoung Chae

Boyoung Chae

Policy Associate, eLearning & Open Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Thursday October 18, 2012 1:30pm - 2:15pm PDT

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