University of New Hampshire Open Education Project
Building on the success of the 2015 UNH OER pilot (see description below) and through the generous support of the University System of New Hampshire Strategic Technology fund, UNH has joined Granite State College, Keene State College, and Plymouth State University in launching a system-wide Open Education initiative.
The initiative seeks to transition to OER content in order to save money for students and create more flexible and adaptable educational content choices for instructors; Explore Open Pedagogy to strengthen learner-directed learning; and Augment Open Access structures and protocols across USNH.
Each year, UNH identifies 15 OER Ambassadors to make significant transformations to their courses during Academic Year by using OER and Open Pedagogy instructional approaches. The UNH Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the UNH Library, and Academic Technology provides assessment, content, and technical support throughout the year.
UNH OER Ambassadors perform the required work to incorporate OER and open pedagogy approaches in their courses with an assigned team of faculty/staff from the Library, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and UNH Academic Technology. In addition, OER Ambassadors report about their work to their colleagues in their school/college and department and participate in UNH-wide events.
A final project report was delivered in March 2017.
Assessments and aspects of the final report covered:
- Textbook Cost Savings
- Student Perceptions of the OER Materials
- Student Learning Outcomes
- Faculty Perceptions of the OER Pilot Program
UNH Open Educational Resources (OER) Ambassador Pilot
The purpose of the OER Grant Pilot was to identify, support and evaluate in a variety of UNH courses or modules the use of OER or resources currently available on a subscription basis through the UNH Library. These resources or subscriptions would replace commercial instructional resources including textbooks. An emphasis of the pilot was to maximize student learning outcomes while reducing or eliminating the cost of instructional materials. Large enrollment and gateway courses from diverse departments were given priority, but the review committee was open to funding creative projects in which faculty used OER or UNH Library resources to improve the quality of the student learning experience while lowering student costs. The intent of the pilot was also to establish and recognize a cohort of UNH OER Ambassadors – academic leaders who were committed to improving the student learning experience through the use of OER and who were eager to share their experiences with colleagues and peers throughout the university. To incentivize faculty to review their course or course modules, and to evaluate the time and support required, we offered a summer grant in the amount of $3000. Selection of OER Ambassadors for 2015.
UNH OER Ambassadors were expected to perform the required work during Summer 2015 in close collaboration with a team of faculty/staff from the Library and UNH IT Academic Technology. The Pilot evaluation began in Spring 2016. The evaluation criteria included:
- Savings realized by students enrolled in the course that adopted OER/Library resources
- Student learning outcomes for the OER pilot courses comparable to or better than previous outcomes
- Faculty success in identifying and incorporating OER materials
- Faculty satisfaction with the support and services offered through the OER pilot (through survey and focus group)
- Student satisfaction with the course/modules materials (add question to course evaluation and focus group)
The Grant Application Process
Prospective grantees submitted their application via an online form. Indication that the proposer’s department chair and school/college dean supported his/her application was required.
The proposals were reviewed by a committee consisting of representatives from the faculty (appointed by the Faculty Senate), the Provost’s Office, associate deans, the Library, and UNH Academic Technology.
The committee selected nine UNH OER Ambassadors based on the following criteria:
- Historical course or module enrollment – total students.
- Clarity of goals and overall impact of the project.
- Clarity of plan for evaluating student progress.
- Availability of OER materials for course or module.
- Availability of instructor to participate in the entire project (Spring 2015 – Spring 2016) and to commit to share findings of his/her experience (Spring 2016)
- Broad representation across schools and colleges
- Demonstrated support from Department Chair and Dean
- Those proposals that incorporate OER into a semester-long course will be given preference
Library/Academic Technology Support
A team consisting of faculty/staff from the Library and Academic Technology consulted with and supported the UNH OER Ambassadors. The team maintained Web-based information and links to resources to assist faculty OER research for their discipline. The OER Libguide can be found here.