Institutions Across Oregon Pilot Open Curricula

By | March 7, 2023

This post was contributed by Phoebe Daurio, Grant Project Manager, Open Oregon Educational Resources; Abbey Gaterud, Director, Chemeketa Press; Liz Pearce, Faculty, Education/Human Development and Family Sciences, Linn-Benton Community College; Kim Puttman, Adult Basic Skills and Sociology Faculty, Oregon Coast Community College; Valencia Scott, Equity Consultant; and Veronica Vold, Open Education Instructional Designer, Open Oregon Educational Resources.

Open Oregon Educational Resources received two grants to develop openly-licensed, targeted pathway materials with an equity lens. We are working on the following courses in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), Sociology, and Criminal Justice (course titles and numbers vary between institutions):

  • Contemporary Families in the U.S.
  • Infant and Child Development
  • School-Age & Adolescent Development
  • Introduction to Human Services
  • Human Services Practicum
  • Sociology in Everyday Life
  • Social Change in Societies
  • Social Problems
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Race & Crime
  • Mental Illness & Disability in the Criminal Justice System

Project Updates

Progress toward goals

Over 70 instructors from 15 different institutions are collaborating with Open Oregon Educational Resources to develop and pilot 12 new open textbooks in their classrooms and online. Pilot instructors consulted with instructional designers on equity-minded course mapping, assessment alignment, and course building.

Preliminary survey results show that 84% of students in the pilot courses self-report improvement in affective outcomes, including increased motivation, increased interest in content, increased engagement, and increased academic confidence. To date, students have saved an estimated $8000 in the pilot courses.

Running course pilots generates essential feedback from both instructors and students that our open textbook authors will use to revise their books. Feedback will also be collected from manuscript peer reviewers and workforce advisory board members, and will be implemented over the next year through a robust revision process supported by Chemeketa Press and a team of Content Development Consultants.

Equity learning

Our Equity Consultants, Valencia Scott and Heather Blicher, have taken a personal and team learning approach to highlight the role of social justice and equity in our projects. We are excited to have developed a full DEI training (to be shared soon). This curriculum will continue to support our author, reviewer, and leadership teams in applying anti-racism, critical race theory, and intersectionality frameworks to their textbooks.

Over the past year, our DEI consultants facilitated several workshops and presentations to coach our Workforce Advisory Board, HDFS, SOC, and CJ author teams on principles of equity and DEI. As participants in this project we are applying deeper social justice frameworks to transform ourselves. This individual work helps us engage in equity based transformation of our classrooms and our courses. You can follow the links below to access our DEI consultant presentations:

Faculty who pilot courses work with instructional designers Veronica Vold, Heather Blicher, and Michelle Culley to create equitable course materials. This means that pilot courses increase student ease of navigation through intuitive course site design and help to strip out hidden curriculum by using the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework. Instructional design support helps to deepen alignment between assessments course outcomes and increase student engagement with new activities and content interaction.

One of the things that stands out for me, personally, is having worked with a course designer on my course materials has improved my teaching in all of my courses. I am now paying more attention to making sure all of my resources are accessible, and that I am using and representing diverse voices. – Yvonne Smith, author of “Human Services Internship”

These new materials are supporting deep conversations around racism, bodily autonomy, power and privilege, and community resilience. The deeper I go into challenging topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the more my students follow me in wrestling with divisive issues. – Kim Puttman, author of “Social Problems”

Open Pedagogy

Our new courses and books center the experiences of our students. Using the framework of Universal Design for Learning, we give our students options for engaging with our materials, from the written word to newly created media, to real-world case studies. Our course designs leverage equity-minded design principles, asking for work products in a variety of formats, so that students express their knowledge by creating videos, infographics, case studies, fact sheets, and slideshows. Our authors are integrating many of these original projects into course materials for future college students.

We recognize that our students are also experts, so we also practice open pedagogy. As a culturally responsive teaching practice, open pedagogy recognizes that the knowledge and perspectives that students bring transform their learning.

Students see equity issues that sometimes we, who generally experience more power in our social locations, miss. Students have contributed critical experiences to the course conversations, which result in new assignments and content that more accurately reflect intersectionality, oppression, and discrimination – Liz Pearce, author of “Contemporary Families in the U.S.” and “Introduction to Human Services”


Pacific Sociological Conference

Ten members of the sociology team will share their work at the Pacific Sociological Conference in Bellevue Washington March 31 – April 2. We are hosting a panel on Open Educational Resources (OER) as Tools in Building Equity in Sociology. We are also contributing sociological research papers on Deaf technology, mental health, religion, justice and anti-racism, wildfires and health, and more.

2022 Open Education Conference

Team members presented at the 2022 Open Education Conference:


Our grants drew from Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) in the U.S. Department of Education (eighty percent of the total cost of the program is funded by FIPSE, with the remaining twenty percent representing in-kind personnel costs funded by Open Oregon Educational Resources). The contents of this post were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.


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