OER Design for Impactful Teaching and Learning Opportunities

Concurrent Session 8

Brief Abstract

As numerous studies and articles abound regarding the anagogical efficacy and learner-centricity of Open Educational Resources (OER), designers and faculty at Colorado Technical University (CTU) have embraced the idea of creating high-quality OER through our Beyond the Book guides.  Learn how CTU develops, maintains, and evaluates this popular tool.


Dr. Burton-Williams is the Director of Institutional Effectiveness for Colorado Technical University. She received her Bachelors Degree in General Studies from the University of Michigan, with a focus on sociology and diversity. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. At the University of Phoenix, Dr. Williams obtained her Doctorate in Management (Organizational Leadership) with a dissertation that addressed the experiences and perceptions of employees who work under popularly elected leaders' management. Her initial publication through SAGE Publications was a discussion of the dissertation findings relating to elected leaders management capacity. Academically, her research interests include the public sector, institutional effectiveness, and educational tech. Dr. Williams' work experience includes over 25 years in the public sector and 10 years in higher education, which includes 15 years in management/leadership. Dr. Williams turned her attention to higher education with a focus on continuous improvement and data trends on improved student performance and organizational effectiveness.
Carrie Wandler is an Associate Professor and University Program Director for General Education & Psychology at Colorado Technical University. Over the past fifteen years, she has taught composition as well as a wide variety of literature courses at traditional brick and mortar universities, Boston University and Harvard University, as well as through various online learning platforms. She earned her B.A. in English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed her M.A. in Literature at Boston University. She recently completed her Ed.D. in Postsecondary Education from Argosy University. Her learning-centered approach to instruction and design emphasizes techniques aimed at getting students empowered by the power and possibility of their own thought.
Jenna Obee completed a Bachelor's of Science in zoology and anthropology knowing full well she would never work in those fields, but the part-time job in the library was fun. She ended up working for a public library where she found her passion in helping lifelong learners and teenagers. After more than a dozen years, plus earning her Masters of Library Science at Emporia (KS) State University, Jenna revitalized this passion with adult education at CTU. She still has one bit of zoology in her life: Jenna has over 600 turtles in her collection (but only one of them is alive!).

Extended Abstract

Open educational resources (OER) have become increasingly championed in the realm of higher education throughout the past decade. As numerous studies and articles abound regarding the anagogical efficacy and learner-centricity of these research tools, designers and faculty alike at Colorado Tech have embraced the idea of creating high-quality OER through our Beyond the Book guides. BtB, as they are affectionately monikered, have become standout stars in several of our courses.

At our university, we serve many students from non-traditional backgrounds and situations. The price of textbooks is a very real hindrance for much of our student population. To not only reduce prices for students but also to promote more engagement in the course overall, we have begun designing repositories of materials - collections of Creative Commons materials as well as multimedia resources - items which provide relevant information and multiple modes of delivery to generate interest across learning styles. Through our tracking procedures, we have found that students in these courses are indeed utilizing the guides, and we feel that bundling a variety of resources in this way is a useful tool that program designers and course developers can incorporate into online classes to promote engagement and facilitation of learning. We will also explore aesthetic methods of packaging resources to promote creativity and inspire authentic student interest. 

In this conference presentation, University Librarian Jenna Obee, Business Program Director Dr. Melissa Williams, and Lead Faculty Dr. Carrie Wandler will showcase a series of CTUs Beyond the Book guides - including the process of choosing/designing materials, implications of replacing course texts, and impacts of these guides on student engagement in select online classrooms.  The presentation will provide details on our process for creating these guides. We will discuss how we determine which classes need a guide and when OER is the right choice, as well as how best to curate resources to meet emerging need and maximize the student experience. We will also explore the technological aspects of building, revising and maintaining the guide.  The audience will then work in small groups to determine their first steps in creating a similar product.  A support website is available to attendees during and after the presentation.

Learning Outcomes:

·       Participants will be able to:

o   Identify opportunities for integrating OERs into the classroom

o   Develop talking points for introducing OER to faculty and students for stronger buy-in

o   Prepare a series of first steps to take back to their institutions