#eLearning2017 -OER: Small University, Big Impact!


  • Julee A. Russell, Chair, Departments of Language and Literature, Art and Communications, Valley City State University
  • Diane Burr, Professor of Kinesiology and Human Performance, Valley City State University


OER Pilot Course (Fall 2015)

  • ENGL 125: Introduction to Professional Writing
  • Student satisfaction measured through surveys administered at four week intervals.
  • Topics included:
    • How accessible are the resources
    • Opinions of reading text on screen
    • Effect of reading online texts and motivation to read
    • Impact of textbook costs
  • Students found that the resources are accessible, students feel like the content provides enough knowledge, overall positive experience.
  • Spring 2016 Faculty Focus Group and Beyond
    • 10 Faculty Participated with Stipend of $750 to find and implement an OER in their General Education course.
    • Faculty were positive about the flexibility of the resources, yet realized that it took a lot of time to locate valuable resources.
    • “I believe there is much more to OER than textbooks. The ability to blend ad wide variety of sources is valuable.”
    • 35% of students were impacted by the OER initiative. In the fall 50%. The spring of 2017, 55% of students were receiving OER content. In the fall of 2017 a goal was set to 65%.
  • Faculty buy-in is growing.
  • A video was produced to showcase the successes that includes testimonials from the president of VCSU student senate and the faculty.


  • Do it Yourself: OER
    • If you can’t locate a single source of content.
    • Outdated information.
    • Difficult with accessibility and playback.
    • Not “open” for everyone.
  • Building your own Textbook
    • What are the identify instructional topics and objectives.
    • Research open source materials that match the topics/objectives.
    • Update open resources to reflect current recommendations and research.
    • Create learning activities and content delivery materials.
    • Identify the software platform for construction. (iBooks Author)
    • Assemble the textbook.
  • Benefits
    • Ability to align to specific course objectives.
    • Developer not reliant on unstable links or websites.
    • You can use all of the content vs a textbook where much of the content often is not used.
    • Finished product is available in a more traditional format.
  • Challenges
    • Some outdated information in OERs
    • Time intensive (how can grants assist or stipends?)
    • Software learning curves
    • Never done… always need updated content (ie. nutrition standards)
  • Resources
    • VCSU Libguide
    • Librarians assist in finding resources.
    • ilos is being used at VCSU for captioning.



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