How Virginia Community Colleges are making it easy to adopt OERs

The common question we (the BC Open Textbook Team) get asked by institutions is “…but HOW do we encourage faculty to adopt OER”. We all know that we can talk about the benefits of OER, the 5 R’s, and both the financial and pedagogical reasons behind using OER, but until faculty see how to incorporate OER into their courses, it can often be a moot point.
Recently, Richard Sebastian, Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies for Virginia’s Community Colleges wrote an excellent blog post showcasing how VCCS is making it EASY for faculty to review and adopt OER in their courses. We wanted to share his blog post as an example of how your Institution can do the same, with Open Courses, Open Textbooks, and OER – using something most ALL institutions already have adopted, the LMS.

Adopting OER Just Got Really, Really Easy

There is a new feature in Blackboard Learn that is going to make it extremely easy for VCCS faculty to browse, preview, and adopt open courses to use in their classes. Now when faculty login to Blackboard Learn, they will see a new tab at the top of their screen called OER Courses (OER stands for open educational resources. For a good definition of OER, see the site).
The new tab contains a list of openly licensed courses—courses that use free and open educational materials instead of traditional publisher-created textbooks—that have been developed, reviewed, and shared by VCCS faculty.
All VCCS faculty are welcome–scratch that—encouraged to browse this catalog of open courses to request access to preview any courses they are interested in. Once a faculty member finds a course they like, they can copy it into a Blackboard shell to use. For free. No strings attached.
Simple as pie, right? Well, that’s what we hope at least.
Currently, the following eleven open courses are available on the OER Courses tab:

  • BIO 101 General Biology I
  • BUS 100 Introduction to Business
  • BUS 236 Communication in Management
  • CST 100 Principles of Public Speaking
  • ECO 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECO 202 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ENG 111 College Composition I
  • ENG 112 College Composition II
  • ENG 243 Survey of English Literature I
  • PSY 200 Principles of Psychology
  • SDV 100 College Success Skills

Hopefully, this new tab will make it easier than ever for interested faculty at colleges across the VCCS to adopt open courses, giving them more flexibility with their course materials and saving their students money to boot.
You can read the original blog post at :