Goodwin University has been awarded a grant of $9,000 from the Connecticut Open Educational Resources (OER) Council, a statewide body charged with developing a plan for resources to benefit college students throughout Connecticut. The Council includes a diverse range of college and university representatives in the state, and members are appointed by the executive director of the Office of Higher Education. The funds will support redesigning eight existing Goodwin academic courses to afford greater access to students of limited financial means through the use of OER materials. These resources are either currently in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows them to be used freely.
Students at Goodwin have a demonstrated need for OER materials. Concerns over paying for textbooks disproportionately impact students from low-income backgrounds. In a recent retention survey administered by Goodwin, students identified rising textbook costs as a primary obstacle to completing their degrees. The survey also found high student interest in OER, with 60% responding that they would be more likely to register for a course where all materials were provided electronically or free. One student noted, “As a working, commuting, home-owning parent of a toddler, every penny saved helps.”
Historically, Goodwin has had extensive experience serving students with educational and economic challenges, and the positive feedback from previous initiatives using OER led to its adoption as a strategic initiative at the University and the creation of an OER subcommittee to oversee formal objectives and systematic implementation processes. The projected cost saving for the fall 2020 semester for an estimated 615 students is $101,200.
The Goodwin courses being converted for OER implementation include American History Since 1877 (Professor Brittney Yancy), Anatomy and Physiology (Professors Vita Vernace and Petra Mursch), Chemistry (Professor Vinod Dhar), Foundations of the Nursing Profession (Professor Vivienne Friday), Health and Wellness (Professor Marcie Stock), Introduction to Early Childhood Education (Professor Michelle Dent), Introduction to Public Health (Professor Paula Dowd), and Psychology of Personality (Professor Tammy Webb). The new OER courses will be developed during the summer in collaboration with instructional designers and staff of the Hoffman Family Library at the University.
For more information on the OER initiative at Goodwin, visit: goodwin.libguides.com/OER
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.