Turbocharging Open: How Using OER Courseware Changes Teaching & Learning

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Using digital courseware designed with open educational resources (OER), faculty members gain powerful new tools to engage students and continuously improve learning. Hear from faculty in different disciplines about how using OER courseware impacts course design, instruction, engaging students, assessing performance, innovating in the classroom, and supporting students’ success.



Michael V. Daly is the Director of Operations for SUNY OER Services, a shared services organization for SUNY institutions looking to build, support, and expand Open Educational programs and practices. SUNY OER Services works to increase access to course materials for all students, lower the cost of course materials for students and empower faculty to use course materials most suited to their needs and appropriate for fostering improved students success.
Julie Babulski is an instructor of Biology at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. She teaches a great range of courses from Anatomy and Physiology, General Biology and Environmental Science. She focuses on engaging students in STEM careers and increasing access to learning materials for all students.
Jessica Traylor is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and an Honors Fellow at Gordon State College. After over a decade as a School Psychologist, Dr. Traylor now shares her passion for psychology by teaching undergraduate students. Her research interests include self-regulation, trauma, resilience, mentoring, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Extended Abstract

It is well documented that open educational resources (OER) impact affordability and access, and we’re just beginning to unlock the potential for OER to strengthen student success by applying principles of learning science and user-focused design to openly licensed content. A new generation of digital courseware blends OER with analytics and personalized learning tools engineered to foster effective learning. Its goals are to build better learners, deepen faculty-student connections and improve course completion rates.

Courseware can provide helpful learning data to pinpoint where students struggle and inform the faculty member and the student about how learning is progressing. It can also introduce nudges and interventions aimed to address common challenges in the educational experience, especially for disadvantaged or historically underrepresented students.

This panel will explore the impact of next-generation OER courseware on faculty and students in multiple disciplines. Faculty from different institutions share how using OER courseware has changed their approach to teaching and student engagement and their observations about how using digital courseware impacts student behaviors and learning. They will also share the lessons they have learned along the path of converting to using OER as well as digital courseware designed using OER.

The panel session will invite each presenting faculty member to share a 6-8 minute overview about their experience with OER courseware. After each of these overview remarks, the moderator will invite panelists to respond to prepared questions. After 2-3 moderator questions, the moderator will open things up to the floor for session attendees to engage the panelists in discussion.

Panelists remarks and prepared questions will focus on the following topics:

  • What does OER courseware provide instructors, and how is it different from using OER without digital courseware tools?

  • What problems were you hoping to solve using OER courseware?

  • What do you see as the strengths of OER courseware compared to courseware that uses traditional publisher (copyright) content?

  • How does using courseware change how you design and teach courses and manage your time focused on your classes? How does it shape a different learning experience for students?

  • What problems has OER courseware helped you address, and what do you consider the greatest accomplishments of adopting OER courseware?

  • Please share something that didn’t work well in your transition to using OER courseware, as well as something that did work well.

  • What evidence are you seeing about the impact using this courseware makes for student success and learning?

  • What advice would you share with others exploring and adopting OER courseware for the first time?

  • What would you recommend to ensure you choose courseware that is a good fit for your subject area, students, and instructors?