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Impact at CSU-Pueblo

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A History of OER at CSU-Pueblo

Informal OER use has been happening at CSU-Pueblo for quite some time, certainly at least the last decade. Faculty in a number of departments have used existing OER (Biology, Chemistry) and created new OER (Engineering, Spanish, History, Mathematics). Additionally, there has probably always been in-house production of materials which would surely have been OER if their authors had known about the intellectual property licenses which guarantee the openness required for OER.

CSU-Pueblo joined the Open Textbook Network [OTN] in 2016, in a joint effort of the Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning [CTL]. The OTN is one of the premier organizations supporting OER in the United States at the moment. They run the Open Textbook Library [OTL], which contains more than 660 high quality full OER textbooks, almost of all of which have detailed peer reviews by expert faculty members), help member campuses build OER programs, and provide other support services to the OER community.

One of the great successes of the OTN has been campus workshops where faculty and others are exposed to the theory and practice of OER, after which they are encouraged to read a text in the OTL and write a review for a small honorarium. Experience has shown that faculty who attend the workshops and write a review often (more than 40%) go on to use an OER in their own classes.

After receiving a $45,000 grant from Colorado’s Open Education Council, we have supported the creation of an OER textbook for ENG 101/102 which has saved CSU-Pueblo students approximately $53,000 in one semester alone.

More About the Colorado Open Education Council

In the summer of 2017, pursuant to Colorado’s SB17-258, the Colorado Department of Higher Education appointed an Open Educational Resources Council which studied the existing use of OER in public institutions of higher education in the state and made a recommendation for a program to support the increase of OER use in Colorado.

The 2017 Council’s proposal was transformed into a bill that became the law HB18-1331, which created a new Open Education Council to sit for three more years, as well as giving the Council funds to be disbursed as grants supporting OER around the state.

The state grant program was supported with approximately half a million dollars from the Colorado General Fund in its first year. CSU-Pueblo applied for and was given $45,000 in this first year of state OER funding.

The state grant funds are also being used to purchase a PressBooksEDU hosting service for OER textbooks created or adapted on our campus. The PressBooks platform is widely used in the OER world because it is quite easy to use to produce very professional-looking texts which are also easy to modify and adapt as desired, and which interoperate well with accessibility tools such as screen readers.

Colorado General Fund support for a second year of state OER grants has been increased to approximately one million dollars. The call for proposals recently was announced, and CSU-Pueblo will again apply for these funds and there is every reason to believe we can get up to twice as much as we did in the first year.

Open Education

Jonathan Poritz Ph.D.

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