ATD​ ​College​ ​Presidents​ ​Introduce​ ​Congressional​ ​Staff ​to​ ​the​ ​Power​ ​of​ ​Open​ ​Educational​ ​Resources​ ​at​ ​Capitol​ ​Hill​ ​Briefing

Achieving​ ​the​ ​Dream​ ​President​ ​and​ ​CEO​ ​Dr.​ ​Karen​ ​A.​ ​Stout,​ ​Bunker​ ​Hill​ ​Community​ ​College​ ​President​ ​Dr. Pam​ ​Eddinger,​ ​and​ ​Odessa​ ​College​ ​President​ ​Dr.​ ​Gregory​ ​Williams​ ​drew​ ​an​ ​audience​ ​of​ ​30​ ​Congressional staff​ ​members​ ​plus​ ​higher​ ​education​ ​policymakers​ ​and​ ​open​ ​educational​ ​resources​ ​(OER)​ ​supporters​ ​to​ ​a briefing​ ​on​ ​OER’s​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​community​ ​college​ ​student​ ​success.​ ​The​ ​presidents,​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​ATD​ ​colleges that​ ​have​ ​embraced​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​OER,​ ​explained​ ​their​ ​colleges’​ ​experiences​ ​using​ ​OER​ ​to​ ​save​ ​community college​ ​students​ ​money,​ ​keep​ ​them​ ​on​ ​track​ ​to​ ​graduate,​ ​and​ ​improve​ ​teaching.​ ​ATD​ ​is​ ​currently managing​ ​a​ ​multi-million​ ​dollar​ ​effort,​ ​the​ ​OER​ ​Degree​ ​Initiative,​ ​to​ ​spread​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​OER​ ​in​ ​38 community​ ​colleges,​ ​including​ ​Bunker​ ​Hill​ ​and​ ​Odessa,​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​the​ ​number​ ​of​ ​students,​  especially low-income​ ​and​ ​underserved​ ​students,​ ​who​ ​earn​ ​degrees. 
 
The​ ​two​ ​colleges​ ​have​ ​made​ ​tremendous​ ​strides​ ​toward​ ​offering​ ​students​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​earn degrees​ ​made​ ​up​ ​of​ ​OER​ ​courses.​ ​Odessa’s​ ​Dr.​ ​Williams​ ​acknowledged​ ​that​ ​ATD’s​ ​emphasis​ ​on​ ​helping Network​ ​colleges​ ​approach​ ​initiatives​ ​purposefully​ ​was​ ​the​ ​foundation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​college’s​ ​progress​ ​with OER.​ ​When​ ​ATD​ ​announced​ ​the​ ​OER​ ​Degree​ ​Initiative,​ ​the​ ​college​ ​saw​ ​it​ ​as​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​all degree-seeking​ ​students’​ ​experiences​ ​at​ ​Odessa​ ​by​ ​removing​ ​a​ ​major​ ​financial​ ​barrier​ ​to​ ​staying​ ​in college.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​boom​ ​and​ ​bust​ ​cycle​ ​of​ ​the​ ​local​ ​Texas​ ​economy,​ ​textbook​ ​costs​ ​often​ ​posed​ ​a​ ​significant challenge​ ​for​ ​many​ ​students.​ ​So​ ​Odessa’s​ ​purposeful​ ​approach​ ​led​ ​to​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​beyond​ ​ATD’s grant​ ​requirements​ ​and​ ​convert​ ​all​ ​sections​ ​of​ ​its​ ​42​ ​core​ ​associate​ ​degree​ ​courses​ ​to​ ​OER.​ ​Participating faculty​ ​have​ ​been​ ​enthusiastic​ ​about​ ​using​ ​OER​ ​and​ ​other​ ​faculty​ ​have​ ​begun​ ​to​ ​express​ ​interest,​ ​too. 
 
Under​ ​Dr.​ ​Eddinger’s​ ​leadership,​ ​Bunker​ ​Hill​ ​Community​ ​College​ ​has​ ​taken​ ​a​ ​different​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​using OER.​ ​To​ ​ensure​ ​that​ ​course​ ​content​ ​is​ ​relevant​ ​and​ ​accessible​ ​to​ ​the​ ​college’s​ ​culturally​ ​diverse​ ​student body,​ ​the​ ​college​ ​uses​ ​OER​ ​to​ ​deliver​ ​culturally​ ​relevant​ ​pedagogy​ ​and​ ​community-based​ ​learning.​ ​The flexibility​ ​of​ ​OER​ ​allow​ ​faculty​ ​to​ ​customize​ ​their​ ​course​ ​materials​ ​to​ ​reflect​ ​students’​ ​diverse backgrounds​ ​and​ ​are​ ​relevant​ ​to​ ​their​ ​interests.​ ​So​ ​at​ ​Bunker​ ​Hill,​ ​the​ ​power​ ​of​ ​OER​ ​lies​ ​in​ ​supporting personalized​ ​teaching​ ​and​ ​learning.

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