This panel brings together experts from the community college sector in the USA: Una Daly (UD); Preston Davies (PD); Quill West (QW), Christie Fierro (CF) and James Glapa-Grossklag (JGG).

Many of the panel are involved in both the Open Education Consortium and The Community College Consortium for OER (which was founded by Martha Kantner in 2007). CCCOER is the focus of today’s talk, with a focus on what Wenger called ‘communities of practice‘.

  • PD began by discussing implementations of open learning at Northern Virginia Community College and the way that CCCOER supported the OER based general education programme.
  • QW outlined the Pierce Open Pathways (POP) ‘no textbook’ degree which launched this year.  She outlined encouragment and supportive communication as essential parts of the wider community of practice supported by CCCOER.
  • CF described the way that CCCOER provided support for her as an adjunct teacher who did not have much institutional support for engaging with OER.  She noted that the route to success is often convoluted and it’s important to retain a connection with a wider national and international community.
  • JGG highlighted the monthly CCCOER webinar programme as an important way of facilitating collaboration and shared understanding of the issues.  He noted that it’s important to convey the impression that OER is a global phenomenon, not the preserve of a few eccentrics. It’s also important to define clear institutional goals (lower costs; increased collaboration; improve learning, etc) which can converge (as in the case of Z Degree).  He also highlighted the need for practising openness (correct attribution/licensing; open access publication; recognising OER contributions for professional development, etc.).
  • QW went on to discuss the new CCCOER toolkit which will assist members in initiating discussing on their own campus (due Spring 2016).  The platform for this has yet to be announced (and may be structured as a course).
  • In the long run CCCOER will encourage longer term members in moving from course level OER adoption and towards degree pathways and support newer members through mentoring.

Questions & Answers

  • Question from the floor about success metrics:  UD spoke about how CCCOER used to track OER adoption but now focuses on membership numbers and showcases stories of effective activity.
  • Question about working without funding.  JGG says it’s important to define goals within the institutional culture as this makes it harder for anyone to put barriers in the way.  It also helps to prepare the ground for subsequent attempts to win funding.  CF relates to this scenario from her time as adjunct. She noted that being organised and showing how all the different elements fit together can be a good way of increasing the chances of success.
  • Contribution from the floor about TAACCCT grants at Northern Essex Community College.  They used a $5,000 grant to produce OER that saved $52,000.  This is a neat and powerful way of conveying the message.  Another way is to focus on impact on students and building up support among students.
  • Comment from member of Maricopa Country Community College District: Support from the highest levels of administration can really make all the difference.