Fusion Summit - Part 1: Institutional Strategies for Affordable Learning Solutions at Florida's HBCUs: Adopting Free and Open Educational Resources that Improve Student Success

Concurrent Session 1

Brief Abstract

Bethune Cookman University and Edward Waters University have been HBCU leaders in implementing institutional programs to significantly reduce the cost of course materials, improving affordability of education and student success.  Lessons learned, success strategies, and tangible as well as intangible outcomes will be presented. Presenters will also share tips for securing faculty buy-in and highlight artifacts that demonstrate OER infusion.


Robbie K. Melton, Ph.D. Is a tenured professor and transitional dean of Graduate School for Tennessee State University. She is also founder and CEO of ‘RobbieTech4Teach’ and formally (20 years) Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobilization Emerging Technology for Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) assigned to develop the system’s Strategic Emerging IOE Technology Planning and provide system-wide Professional Development and Faculty Training related to education technology support and services for teaching, learning, training, and workforce development, product testing, pilots and research. Melton is currently overseeing research regarding the ‘Emerging Technology of The Internet of Everything (IoE) of Smart Connected Devices and Mixed Reality Technologies’ (VR/AR/Holograms/Wearables) for enhancing teaching, improving learning, and increasing workforce productivity; curating IOE Smart Educational Devices, Gadgets, and Tools; and primary investigator for HBCU OER Affordable Learning Solutions Pilots and OER Workforce Skills Commons

Extended Abstract

For the past 6 years, the HBCU Affordable Learning Community has been building the organizational, programmatic, and technical foundation for their Affordable Learning Solutions program for all HBCUs.  Tennessee State University (TSU) has been successfully incubating AL$ projects at various HBCUs by leveraging the Hewlett grants in partnership with the California State University Long Beach MERLOT-SkillsCommons programs.  Bethune Cookman University and, more recently, Edward Waters University have been leading Florida’s HBCU institutions by customizing AL$ programs for their faculty, staff, and students.

Bethune Cookman University has focused on the transformation of their general education curriculum with free and open educational resources as well as on its graduate programs.   Their custom portal for AL$ (http://becool4ed.org/), integration of OER within Canvas, and OER libguides created by librarians provide a foundation of resources for their faculty to adopt free and open educational resources.   The presentation by Bethune Cookman University will focus on strategies for optimizing faculty buy-in to redesign their courses with OER.

Edward Waters University has focused on establishing an administrative foundation for their AL$ program so the growth of faculty adopting free and open educational resources will be supported by the institution (see their portal at https://projects.merlot.org/ewu/) . The presentation by Edward Waters University will focus on the communication and engagement strategies for obtaining administrative buy-in to support AL$. Several faculty members have demonstrated how efficient OER materials can be in helping them make their classes more engaging for their students. They have also demonstrated their eagerness to contribute to the enrichment of the OER repertoire by ensuring that all subject matters are represented.

Finally,  Tennessee State University will showcase all the resources and services that the HBCU AL$ community has developed (http://hbcuals.org) and how their institution has become a national leader for HBCU and other minority serving institutions in significantly reducing the cost of course materials for their students and transform the ways faculty choose content for their teaching.