Lessons Learned from Initial OER Implementations: Moving the Needle Forward

Concurrent Session 11
Blended Equity and Inclusion MERLOT

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Many students struggle to make successful progression in their college careers, and one of the recent educational antecedents for improvement focuses on the provision of low- and no-cost learning materials to students across the curriculum. These open education resources (OERs) focus on improving student access and course/program persistence. Focusing on the online and hybrid/blended learners, this presentation provides best practices and lesson learned across 2 diverse university environments showcasing 4 major recommendations for best practice implementation and support of OER initiatives in higher education.



Sherri Restauri, Ph.D., Senior Executive Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning, Coastal Carolina University Sherri currently serves as the Senior Executive Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching senior-level classes in lifespan psychology, such as Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Gerontology. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 20 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, faculty, and over the last decade plus as a university-level administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. Her research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, to include all modalities of learning (online, face-to-face, hybrid, flipped, etc.). She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.

Additional Authors

Katherine Quinnell is the Library Director at Athens State University, located in Athens, Alabama. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with her MLS in 1999, earned an MS in Education from Northeastern State University in 2004, and completed a PhD in Educational Leadership in 2015 from Mercer University. She currently serves on state and national committees, including the ACRL Standards committee and the Executive Council of the Network of Academic Alabama Libraries. Her focus is on customer service, with an emphasis on serving the student "where they are."

Extended Abstract

At the center of the focus of open education is the goal of broadening the reach of and access to education for students who may be underserved academically. Many schools are turning to low- and no-cost materials, and learning objects otherwise known as open educational resources (OERs).  To implement OER across a campus is an undertaking of monumental proportions, but breaking up the implementation, and soliciting partnerships across campus and with other schools can help guide the success of the project. This brief presentation showcases two institutions (one mid-sized liberal arts university and one 2 year upper division university) who are mastering the art of implementing OER initiatives on a campus-wide scale including all of the core components this implementation demands for success. Factors discussed in this presentation focus on the successful collaborations with other departments and institutions, faculty buy-in, documentation and training, and faculty incentives and support.  Also reviewed will be metrics that are important to keep, specifically cost savings and cost effectiveness.


Examples provided in this Emerging Ideas session will include:

  • Low- and no-cost course materials, learning objects

  • Implementation pathways

  • Promotion ideas among faculty, administration; providing incentives, internal grants and trainings, etc.

  • Tracking methodology to determine cost savings and cost effectiveness


Further, differences implemented between the 2 different campuses, highlighting the differences in “what works and what doesn’t work” across campus cultures and demographics will be featured. Finally, the implementation pathway timesframes between the 2 campuses--one much further along with implementation of OER while one is just starting out with the implementation--will be contrasted.


Attendees to this session will be provided with a resource included recommendations for the above noted 4 key areas, and ideas to contribute to this collaborative material will be crowd-sourced.