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CSU-Pueblo Students to Benefit from Approval of $550,000 in OER State Grant Funding

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Greg Hoye

Executive Director

Marketing, Communications & Community Relations

(719) 549-2810

Student with Textbook

CSU-Pueblo Students to Benefit from Approval of $550,000 in OER State Granting Fund

Pueblo – Feb. 12, 2019:  Colorado State University-Pueblo students will benefit from one of 20 proposals recently approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education that will provide nearly $550,000 in funding for higher education Open Educational Resources (OER) projects throughout the state. 

As one of the 20 universities to be awarded OER grant funding, CSU-Pueblo received $45,000. A CSU-Pueblo OER committee, made up faculty, librarians, and IT staff will oversee the dispersal of the funds on a variety of projects, including $15,000 on creating a textbook for CSU-Pueblo's Composition requirement that is intended to save CSU-Pueblo students approximately $154,000 a year.

The remaining $30,000 will be used for other projects which are in development but are slated to include math and chemistry, and a mini-grant program which could support new individual OER efforts. Funds will also be used to support OER trainings and other infrastructural items.

 “We are grateful to the commission for their work to support our students and save them money,” said Derek Lopez, CSU-Pueblo Grants Program Manager. “This grant will have a substantial impact on the future of OER and have the potential of saving our students thousands of dollars.”

OER are high-quality teaching, learning and research resources that permit free use or repurposing and legally available to students for free or very low cost. Passed by the General Assembly last year, H.B. 18-1331 established the grant program and charged Colorado’s OER Council to oversee and administer the proposals and program. 

“As a faculty member, I am often frustrated that economic or other large-scale factors build obstacles in my students' path to success,” said Jonathan Poritz, CSU-Pueblo’s Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, associate professor of mathematics, and chair of the statewide OER Council. “OER enables and even encourages me and other faculty to use better teaching approaches, to keep our courses more interactive and up-to-date and to use technology that empowers and engages students rather than controls and surveils them.”

Studies in other states have shown that switching gateway courses from commercial textbooks to OER improves outcomes [and helps finances] for all students, but in particular results in a one-third reduction in academic failure, or DFW rates (the fraction of students who receive a D or F or who withdraw from the class) for minority and Pell-eligible students.  The conclusion from this and other studies is that using OER is a generally beneficial intervention which has particular traction for traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education today.

"The potential for OER to increase student success is astounding, especially for low-income and minority students who comprise a large portion of the students we serve here at CSU-Pueblo,” said Donna Souder Hodge, Executive Director Organizational Development.

In its inaugural year, the Colorado OER Grant Program is awarding funds to several institutions in two different tiers: individual and small group, and institutional-level grants. Funded proposals include a system-wide intercampus collaboration and faculty content design in disciplines with high enrollment and expensive textbook costs, ranging from STEM and art history to English language and writing courses. View the list of awards.

“I’m proud that Colorado is a leader in this important work and we have the support and encouragement of our Governor and Commission,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE. “By removing one of the obstacles in the path of traditionally underrepresented students, we set a level playing field and get to the heart of our work—seeing everyone succeed after high school.”  

With $1 million slated for next year’s grant cycle, Colorado’s OER Council is eager to support more projects that will lower costs and improve student success—two goals outlined in CDHE’s statewide plan for higher   education, Colorado Rises. 

Get Involved

In conjunction with CDHE, the OER Council will host events and other professional development opportunities to learn more about the open education movement in Colorado. During Open Education Week 2019, March 4-8, CDHE will partner with campuses to put on interactive webinars, panel sand more. Campuses are encouraged to host associated events and contact OER@dhe.state.co.us for potential collaboration.

In May, CDHE will host the first-ever Statewide OER Conference at the Colorado Community College System Lowry Campus. This conference will feature national and local experts exploring topics in the open education movement at various levels. This conference will be preceded by a pre-conference training with the Open Textbook Network.

About the Colorado OER Council

The Colorado OER Council is adynamic15-member delegation designated by the executive director of CDHE. Members include experts from various disciplines such as faculty, instructional designers, digital experts, institutional administrators, state staffers and a student representative. For more information on the Colorado State OER Council, or CSU-Pueblo OER Council, contact Jonathan Poritz, OER Chair: Jonathan.poritz@csupueblo.edu

About Colorado State University-Pueblo

Colorado State University-Pueblo is a comprehensive state university with an enrollment of 4,000 students. With more than 25 percent of its students Hispanic, it is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS). The University is dedicated to interdisciplinary learning and entrepreneurship that elevates its people and community, creates educational opportunities, fosters unique collaborations, and supports inclusion, access, and affordability as a gateway to the world.

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