February 9, 2018
Athens State University hosted a statewide Open Education Resources (OER) workshop sponsored by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education on February 2. The event welcomed over 100 higher education professionals from across Alabama to investigate ways to significantly reduce the amount of money that students spend on textbooks and other instructional materials.
The workshop focused on educating participants about the Open Education Resources movement and the prevalence of OER in the Southeast. Expert speakers from across the region hosted sessions during the event, including Jeff Gallant, Program Manager of Affordable Learning Georgia; Emily Frank, Coordinator of Scholarship and Open Access for Louisiana State University Libraries; Amanda Kin, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at Jefferson State Community College; Ashley Kitchens, Associate Dean of the Clanton Campus of Jefferson State Community College; Barbara Goss, Library Director at Jefferson State Community College; and Dr. Stefanie Panke, Instructional Analyst at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Faculty, librarians, and administrators participated in a variety of activities designed to provide tools and resources for implementing free educational resources in today’s classroom. Educators from across the state recognize the negative impact that the high cost of textbooks has on student success. Recent surveys suggest that textbook costs can affect a student’s performance in a course as well as their time to graduation. Through the use of free open educational resources, students have immediate access to quality learning materials without having to purchase an expensive textbook. Athens State University President Dr. Robert Glenn noted in his welcome remarks to the attendees the increasing responsibility of educators to provide open access to as many Alabama citizens as possible. “Students should expect us to be their strongest advocate for open access to the highest quality learning materials. Our job as educators is to provide them with a supportive environment and the tools to reach their educational goals.”
The Alabama Commission on Higher Education will be sponsoring additional OER workshops at the University of South Alabama and at Auburn University at Montgomery in the coming weeks.