Use this play to:

Issue a public announcement(s) about your OER initiative, goals, and/or the success you’re seeing. Quote specific faculty and students impacted. Report cost savings and other metrics.

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Running the Play

Draft your public announcement following the components detailed below, and work with institutional marketing colleagues for help ensuring the announcement is released through proper channels.

Components of a Public Announcement (see sample announcement below):

    1. Headline (10-20 words written to grab attention)
    2. Sub-head (optional 5-20 words to further explain or differentiate headline)
    3. Lead Paragraph. 2-4 concise sentences explaining what’s happened and its significance to the audience. Use hyperlinks to direct readers to additional information.
    4. Authority/Stakeholder Quote. Quote a leading authority to further substantiate the significance of the announcement.
    5. Tell more of the story, with further evidence or detail. This is a nice place to humanize the story, explaining the impact on individuals.
  • Second Authority/Stakeholder Quote.
  1. Tell the rest of the story. For a short announcement, you can wrap up with a final summary paragraph that sums things up. If you have more stakeholders or announcement points, you can switch between “tell more of the story / add a quote / tell more of the story / add a quote” as appropriate.  

Sample Announcement

Portland, Ore. (March X, 2017) – Math faculty at Tallahassee Community College (TCC) took the leap in fall 2015 to shift two high-enrollment math courses to open educational resources (OER), in order to eliminate problems with textbook affordability and access among students. Using sample courses, technology and support from OER adoption partner Lumen Learning, faculty members tailored materials to fit Florida’s state-defined learning outcomes and course objectives. Today every student in Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra receives automatic access to those course materials. Fall 2015 savings totaled $300,000 as students paid a nominal $X course fee instead of $XXX for an expensive required textbook and online access code.   

According to TCC’s Associate Dean of Curriculum, Dr. Calandra Stringer, this change made all the sense in the world. “We know that each day that students are not prepared will decrease their chances of success in a math course. Using open educational resources, we can be sure students have access to the material they need to succeed from the first day of class. We have no doubt that OER benefits our students both academically and financially.”

Open educational resources first got the attention of TCC’s math faculty through the work of Jim Smart, an associate professor of math at the college. Dr. Smart saw firsthand the problem of textbook affordability preventing his students from succeeding in his classes. He was impressed with the breadth and quality of the math-related OER supported by Lumen Learning, which includes not only textbooks but also videos, quizzes, tests, sample courses and an online homework system. After piloting and seeing the impact on students, he became a program champion, partnering with Lumen to train colleagues and rapidly expand TCC’s approach.

“The collaboration we saw between math faculty at Tallahassee Community College is an ideal model for other higher education institutions,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning, which provides curated open content, faculty training and technical support for the TCC program. “Faculty members came together to select course content and design online practice problems to fit learning outcomes defined at the state level in Florida. They had full control to adapt OER courses to teach the skills and concepts with Florida students’ success in mind.”

For TCC, using OER has been a win-win proposition for students and faculty. In addition to freedom and flexibility in the course content, instructors love being able to start teaching on the first day of class because they know students have access to the materials. Students are thrilled when they don’t have to buy a pricey textbook. Even TCC’s board members had no trouble approving course fee to ensure the program’s sustainability.  

Dr. Stringer sees great potential for OER-drive course redesign. “This is an opportunity for faculty from different institutions and disciplines to work together to create something that is hugely valuable to our entire state. Many Florida students jump from institution to institution. Using state standards and course objectives, we can design a better-aligned curriculum that ensures students are learning the same information across the board. With open educational resources, we can also guarantee every student the same benefits of affordability and access that TCC students are enjoying today.”


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash