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American Higher Education in Crises book cover

Join keynote speaker Goldie Blumenstyk for a book signing.

Books are available for pre-purchase for $16.95 (+tax). 
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Conference Program now posted! This year's line-up includes:


OLC Excellence and Effective Practice Award Recipients Announced


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Join Keynoters Goldie Blumenstyck (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (MindWires Consulting)

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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Improving Student Learning While Lowering Student Costs Through OERs

Kara Van Dam (UMUC, USA)
Matthew Prineas (UMUC, USA)
Session Information
October 16, 2015 - 10:45am
Open, Global, Mobile
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Asia 1
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 10

UMUC's OER initiative replaces traditional textbooks with free, online, open resources that support student learning. Learn how to curate, and scale a high-quality OER program.

Extended Abstract

The Open Education Resources (OER) initiative at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) the nation's largest non-profit public online university replaces traditional publisher materials with free, online, open resources that better support student learning while reducing students' cost of attendance. Attendees will learn how to launch, curate, and scale an OER program with specific attention to ensuring resources are high quality, accessible, and supportive of student success.

Attendees will:

- Understand the benefits of open educational resources (OER).
- Learn how to launch, curate, and scale an OER program.
- Ensure OER resources are high quality, accessible, and supportive of student success.

According to the College Board, the average annual cost for textbooks and materials among US undergraduate students is roughly $1200. A 2012 survey by Florida Virtual Campus found that over 60% of students do not purchase textbooks at some point due to cost; over half have chosen to take fewer courses. Simply put, educational costs do not just increase student spending and debt; the choices those costs lead students to make negatively impact learning and progress.

As an open access, public university, UMUC saw the move towards open educational resources as natural to its mission, and thus in 2013 embarked on an ambitious initiative to ensure that by 2016, learning resources would be provided to its student at no cost. Open educational resources are a key driver of this initiative. By Fall 2015, all undergraduate courses had been converted, and graduate courses will be complete by Fall 2016. These efforts earned UMUC the 2015 OEC Global President's Prize.

In this session we will discuss the successes as well as the challenges we have encountered, and how our current work is feeding a larger move towards open educational practice.