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Wednesday, October 17 • 2:20pm - 3:05pm
Scaling Up a Bridge to Success! Diverse audiences and unexpected outcomes in cross-institutional OER practice

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The Bridge to Success (B2S) project is enabling US college students and a wider audience to benefit from collaboratively refined Open Educational Resources (OER) developed from 'Openings' course materials from the Open University UK. The courses are designed to prepare learners for post-secondary education by developing learning techniques and foundational mathematics skills. With an emphasis on use of these skills in everyday lives, the courses aim to increase confidence and facilitate independent learning, enabling students to set life and study goals, participate in education and employment opportunities, develop their skills and reflect on their own learning. As part of the project US educators worked alongside the original authors of the courses to adapt the materials for the US context. Release of 'Learning to Learn' (L2L) took place in September 2011 and 'Succeed with Math' (SWiM) in January 2012.

Pilots of the courses by partner institutions targeted disadvantaged and underserved student groups in US community colleges. The first significant pilot took place in early 2012 and by May 2012 we were able to report use in 12 institutions and exceeded our target of 750 identified learners ahead of schedule. Use has also spread outside of the project's original remit; the courses are now being used in Family Support Centres, Workforce Development Agencies and High Schools. Plans include deployment in Libraries and Mayoral Employment Development Offices. This extension is a surprising and impressive result. The diverse appeal, flexibility and openness of B2S content are all factors in achieving rapid scaling. Both college and non-college institutions and agencies have committed to using B2S beyond the pilots and on a long-term basis. Qualitative and quantitative evidence for student success is emerging from a broad range of sources. Pre- and post- questionnaires show students gaining confidence in learning and mathematics skills and the students preferred way of learning also showed changes, indicating a stronger interest in “working with a group” and “having a structure”. Self-assessment points built into the units suggest strong improvements in students who initially struggled. For those working outside the college sector direct results could be seen: of 35 learners who originally failed a math entry test for a weatherization training program, 80% then passed after working with SWiM for a 1-3 week period. Partner colleges are adopting or integrating the courses into their curriculum whilst non-college piloting agencies are integrating B2S materials into their training programmes and courses.

Our research shows the combination of accessible content and openness is taking OER from use by those who are already independently IT and technologically literate to those learners trying to return to education lacking IT skills.

This presentation will showcase the project's research findings using diverse case studies to show how collaboration with a wide range of agencies took place, and explore the specific challenges facing students within these contexts. We also explore cross-institutional collaborations as solutions to ensure that OER is more widely available to those who would benefit from it most.

avatar for Beck Pitt

Beck Pitt

Research Assistant, The Open University
Hi there! I'm a researcher on the Open Education Research Hub and Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project at the Open University (UK). Find out more: http://oerresearchhub.org Come and talk to me about all things open and how we (the Hub) could help you!

Wednesday October 17, 2012 2:20pm - 3:05pm PDT

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