June 14, 2016

For immediate release

National Contact: Lynn Reddy 240-450-3830
Emily Wagner 202-367-9104
Local Contact: Esther Watstein 203-332-5226

Housatonic Community College Receives Grant for Open Educational Resources

HCC has received a two-year grant from Achieving the Dream to fund open educational resources (OER). This initiative will provide the college with funds to develop new degree programs accessible electronically. The funds will also help to remove students’ financial roadblocks by enabling students to access textbooks and coursework digitally.

Textbooks can cost students over $1,000 a year for a full-time student. Through OER, students can access textbooks, coursework and research for little or no cost. The cost of textbooks can have a negative impact on a student’s ability to stay in college and graduate.

Additionally, OER allows instructors to design programs and courses using a wide variety of material that tends to be more immediate, relevant and that engages students more fully.

OER focuses on educational usage in online or hybrid learning as well as face-to-face environments. Resources are available at little or no cost and can include course readings, research, textbooks, syllabi, games, assessment tools and other learning applications in multimedia applications. Material is generally licensed with Creative Commons, or other licensers, and usually originates from colleges and universities, libraries, government agencies, commercial organizations as well as publishers, faculty, or individuals who develop the resources they are willing to share.

OER began in 2002 when MIT initiated its OpenCourseWare project. It is now internationally accepted as a viable teaching and learning mechanism.

HCC is the only community college in Connecticut to receive this grant which was awarded to 38 community colleges in 13 states. HCC has been using OER successfully in many courses and it is expected that new programs will be developed, especially in the General Education area with most classes using OER. HCC faculty have developed significant coursework in Math and are enthusiastic about the process and with students achieving good results.

HCC President Broadie says, “We are excited about this grant from Achieving the Dream which allows us to expand our work with OER. This program engages our faculty to develop material that they are excited about and helps our students achieve good outcomes. And, of course, the financial advantage to our students as to textbooks is very significant. Everyone is energized by OER and what it means for our students and the learning process. We are all looking forward to expanding this area of education.”