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Trump Proposal to Cut Indirect Research Payments Would Hit State Universities Hardest

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 31, 2017 - 2:55am
The reimbursements reflect the legitimate expenses of academic science, and would still need to be covered, experts say.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why Is a Suspect in the Vanderbilt Rape Case Talking to Athletes About Sexual Assault?

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 31, 2017 - 2:44am
Brandon E. Banks was scheduled to speak to athletes at Louisiana State University, until concerned students and faculty members got wind of the talk.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Springboard to College

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 10:00pm
Dual-enrollment courses are growing in popularity as a way to encourage students to take the leap earlier.   
Categories: Higher Education News

Sweet Briar Picks Up the Pieces

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 10:00pm
The Virginia college was on the brink of closure two years ago. Read our previous coverage here.
Categories: Higher Education News

IRS Tool Used for Student-Aid Forms Will Be Offline Until the Fall

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 2:23pm
The tool, which has helped millions of students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is valuable, but "we cannot risk the safety of taxpayer data," said the IRS's commissioner.
Categories: Higher Education News

Faculty 'Diversity Statements' Are Called Threats to Academic Freedom

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 1:02pm
A new report accuses colleges of creating “ideological litmus tests” for faculty hiring and promotion by asking candidates for statements on their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Categories: Higher Education News

After a Student Dies, Penn State Bans a Fraternity and Liquor at All Greek Houses

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 11:48am
The actions are among a sweeping set of measures designed to crack down on what officials described as “growing evidence of problems” related to hazing, alcohol abuse, and drug use in Greek life.
Categories: Higher Education News

Seeking Closure in Verdict, Penn State Finds More Discord

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 2:55am
After Graham Spanier’s conviction last week, a Penn State trustee said he was "running out of sympathy" for Jerry Sandusky’s abuse victims. Those remarks and a furious statement by Louis Freeh suggest anything but calm.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why Hundreds of Christian Faculty Members Have Signed a ‘Statement of Confession’

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 2:55am
Lisa DeBoer, a professor at Westmont College, explains the significance of a statement whose signatories promise to recognize "vulnerable populations among us" and "ways we benefit from and participate in structural injustices."
Categories: Higher Education News

Duquesne U. Rejects Last-Ditch Proposals to Save Its Press

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 2:55am
The publications of the 90-year-old press, which got an annual subsidy of $200,000, include a highly regarded journal of Milton studies.
Categories: Higher Education News

Trump’s Proposed Cuts Threaten Colleges’ Key Job-Training Programs

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 30, 2017 - 2:44am
The president has spoken out about putting Americans back to work, but college leaders fear that his budget plan would sharply undermine that goal.
Categories: Higher Education News

Wayne State U. Seeks to Revoke Tenure of 5 Medical-School Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 12:06pm
Facing budget deficits at its medical school, the university wants to dismiss faculty members who it says are "grossly underperforming."
Categories: Higher Education News

Here's a Map of 'Free College' Programs Nationwide

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 11:33am
The University of Pennsylvania Graduate of School of Education's interactive map highlights programs "designed to increase college attainment."
Categories: Higher Education News

Christian Student in Florida Is Suspended After Dispute With Muslim Professor

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 11:24am
Rollins College suspended 20-year-old Marshall Polston after his religious-studies professor filed a “protection against stalking” request.
Categories: Higher Education News

Iowa State U. Defends 9/11 Assignment Against Lawmaker's Criticism

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 10:59am
Students were asked to write a paper that considered the attacks of September 11, 2001, from the perspective of a terrorist group.
Categories: Higher Education News

Faculty at Morehouse College Vote No Confidence in Board Chair

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 9:46am
The vote, which follows the board’s decision not to renew the contract of the college's president, is at least the second to occur at a historically black institution this month.
Categories: Higher Education News

How Open Educational Resources Give Faculty and Students What They Want

WCET Frontiers Blog - March 29, 2017 - 6:07am

Undergraduate costs are on the rise and student loan debt is a huge issue impacting today’s society. How can we, as higher education professionals, help limit the costs for students while also ensuring and promoting their success? This week we welcome Sandy King, Professor of Communications with the Anne Arundel Community College to discuss her suggested solution: Open Educational Resources (OERs). Sandy gives us some background information on OERs and also explains her personal experiences with incorporating OER into her teaching. The resources she provides on OER are outstanding, and I was so excited to hear about the gaming elements she had included in her course!

Thank you Sandy for this educational and inspirational post!


In June of 2014, I attended Maryland OER (Open Educational Resources) Day, and I heard some statistics that has changed the way I teach. In their presentation, Una Daley and James Glapa-Grossklag shared the following:

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduate costs rose 42% at public institutions between 2001 and 2011.
  • In 2013, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in Forbes, federal student loan debt was $1 trillion, with the average student loan upon graduation $25,000.
  • College textbook prices have risen 812% since 1978, and according to the Center of the Public Interest Research, 65% of students have sometimes chosen not to buy the textbook, even though 94% of students believe it will affect their grade.
Lowering Student Costs Through OERs

Although these statistics are sobering, there is a solution: OERs.

The U.S Department of Education defines OERs as:

“teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.”  

OERs include full textbooks, course materials, modules/lessons, videos, images, animations, teaching objects, tests, software, and other ancillaries used for instruction. OERs are digital, which makes them easy to use in eLearning courses. They are available to redistribute and reuse, and most often, can be revised or remixed. A key appeal of OERs is they are usually free or available at very low cost.

For further research, please visit the following:

The Community College Consortium for Open Resources: http://oerconsortium.org/ 

The Community College Consortium for Open Resources Finding Resources Page: http://oerconsortium.org/find-oer/ 

The Open Education Consortium: http://www.oeconsortium.org/ 

MIT Open CourseWare:  https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

Tufts Open CourseWare: http://ocw.tufts.edu/

Saylor Academy: http://www.saylor.org/ 

Open Stax: https://openstax.org/

My Personal OER Journey

While some faculty simply switch from a publisher textbook to an open text, I chose to build my intercultural communication from scratch using OERs, so that all the material for the course was found in the LMS, Canvas. This gave us some powerful advantages:

  • The cost of the text went from $160 to 0.
  • Available Sooner. Moreover, all of the students have the course materials from the first day. No one is waiting to purchase the text, waiting for a text purchased online to arrive, using the wrong edition of the text, or has misplaced or lost the text.
  • It enabled me to present the content in a more engaging way as well, which was helpful to both the native speakers in the course and students in the course for whom English may be the second, third, or even fourth language. Instead of over 400 pages of text, I was able to present the same concepts with much less text by using video, charts, interactive elements, animations, and links to engaging content presented on websites by authoritative sources, such as the Hofstede Center and the University of Pittsburgh website on Folklore and Mythology. Through video, my intercultural students can visit other cultures and meet their people, such as the following on stereotypes of African men: https://www.facebook.com/filmsforaction/videos/10153063886365983/
  • Creating the course this way also permitted me to make all of the content housed in Canvas accessible. The hard copy of the text I was using was inaccessible to students with vision impairments, and the electronic copy of the text wasn’t formatted for a screenreader, giving students who might need this accommodation no clear option.
And I Added Gaming and Badging

It also gave me the opportunity to theme each module so that I could incorporate some gaming elements, such as badges, to my course. Three of the badges – the Cultural Iceberg, the Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” Project, and Nonverbal Communication – are shown below.

Students earn a badge by receiving a 90% score or higher on an assignment, and a badge is available in every module of the course, so there are many opportunities for success. Badges are psychic or intrinsic rewards, which rely on the pure joy and satisfaction of achieving a goal, rather than basing motivation solely on the extrinsic reward, achievement for a grade.

With a Storyline

Additionally, using OERs allowed me to add a storyline to the course.  In each module, students assist Francisco, a recent immigrant to the U.S., to acclimate to a new culture. The students provide Francisco with advice and help as he makes his intercultural journey. By helping Francisco gain the knowledge and skills to be interculturally competent, students demonstrate that they, too, have learned the required knowledge and skills.

OER is Liberating

Incorporating OERs has been liberating for me. Now that I’m no longer dependent on publisher content, I can keep the course up-to-date and easily make revisions as needed.  As more open resources become available, my intercultural course will continue to improve.


Sandy King
Professor of Communications
Anne Arundel Community College






Adjuncts at Colorado Community Colleges Lack Academic-Freedom Protections, AAUP Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 2:55am
The association cites an adjunct's firing as evidence of broader problems in the treatment of part-time instructors.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Woman Leader Advises: Get the Right Credential

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 2:55am
Judy L. Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, is among the still-small group of women who lead research universities. Her advice to others? Get the right credential, and be prepared for the demands and sacrifices of the job.
Categories: Higher Education News

For Community-College Presidents, a Challenging Role Yields High Turnover

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 29, 2017 - 2:55am
The top job is changing rapidly, and a number of long-tenured leaders are retiring. That has put their offices in a state of flux.
Categories: Higher Education News


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