FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 22, 2015
Contact: Laura McDowell, 360-704-4310, firstname.lastname@example.org
Community and technical college staff recognized for open educational resource research for Washington students
OLYMPIA, Wash. — State Board for Community and Technical College staff members Boyoung Chae and Mark Jenkins will be recognized tomorrow by the Open Education Consortium for their research of faculty using open educational resources (OER) in their classrooms. The Open Education Consortium named Chae and Jenkins winners of one of the organization’s 2015 Open Research Award for Open Education Excellence for their report “A Qualitative Investigation of Faculty Open Educational Resource Usage in the Washington Community and Technical College System: Models for Support and Implementation” which was released in January. The awards will be presented during the organization’s Open Education Global 2015 conference in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
For their study, Chae and Jenkins looked at the range of faculty use of OER and motivations for implementing those resources in their teaching. They also categorized the benefits and challenges that faculty experience using OER, and summarized faculty responses regarding what kinds of support they needed to successfully adopt OER resources. Chae is SBCTC’s eLearning and Open Education policy associate and Jenkins is SBCTC’s eLearning director.
“That the global OER community recognizes our findings and recommendations as familiar and useful to them, and that our data can be used by them to help achieve the goals we share in common is a significant validation of our ideas and our approach,” Chae said.
They found that faculty implementing OER in their classrooms did so out of a desire to make education more accessible for their students. Textbooks account for about 30 percent of a student’s cost of going to college.
“Many students have indicated that they buy textbooks late or not at all because the cost can be prohibitive,” Jenkins said. “So it’s clear that our faculty’s willingness to adopt, adapt and use OER plays a big role in helping many of our students stay in school.”
Chae and Jenkins’s research into OER took another step earlier this year when they were invited to submit a chapter for a joint publication on open resources by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning. The book’s editors requested 14 countries and regions participate, making the Chae and Jenkins chapter the only submission from the United States.
“It’s been enormously gratifying to participate in the research and hear first-hand the stories of enthusiasm and commitment from our faculty,” Jenkins said. “Frankly, it just makes us happy to witness their passion and to have a role in serving them and in representing their skill, intelligence and creativity to a wider audience.”