Open Ed Presentations at the Student Success and Retention Conference

By | February 29, 2024

Open Oregon Educational Resources sponsored three presentations at the 2024 Student Success and Retention Conference. This year’s conference theme was “Emerging Technologies, Innovative Practices, and the Total Student Experience.” Presenters and attendees are faculty and staff at Oregon’s public and private colleges and universities.

Fostering Belonging Equity and Inclusion with Open Pedagogy and Open Textbooks Kim Puttman, Professor, Oregon Coast Community College and Heidi Esbensen, Instructor, Portland Community College

Focusing on equity is a useful endeavor, but it can sometimes feel a bit abstract. What does it actually mean to use the lens of equity to transform student success? For us, it means centering student voices and experiences, revolutionizing our textbooks and course builds, and transforming our teaching. Our goal is to create books and courses that are freely available, valid, and written by diverse teams from the field.

More specifically, the Open Oregon Educational Resources Targeted Pathways Project is developing free textbooks and courses in Introduction to Sociology, Social Change, Social Problems, and Sociology of Gender. Our development model seeks to dismantle structures of power and oppression entrenched in barriers to course material access. We provide tools and resources to make diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) primary considerations when faculty choose, adapt, and create course materials. In promoting DEI, our project is committed to:

  • Ensuring diversity of representation within our team and the materials we distribute
  • Publishing materials that use accessible, clear language for our target audience
  • Sharing course materials that directly address and interrogate systems of oppression, equipping students and educators with the knowledge to do the same

Here we would like to share the model, the dream, and the steps that this collaborative statewide team took to create a book, course design, and successful courses for students. The process includes an intersectional DEI approach to editing and revisions, along with multiple revisions for inclusion from the community and accessibility for all. We will also share the preliminary outcomes of our work. A discussion of the steps and vision with peers who are also experts in their fields would help guide our next steps.

Link to slides

Plan Para el Éxito: Introducing a Bilingual College Success Open Textbook Norma Cardenas, Associate Professor of Practice, and Linnea Spitzer, Senior Instructor II, Portland State University; Vanessa Hernandez, College Success Coach, Portland Community College

In 2022, a team supported by Oregon Open Educational Resources revised the college success textbook, Blueprint for Success in College and Career, and translated it into Spanish. The goals of this project were to provide an affordable resource to meet the needs of college students who are native Spanish speakers and to update the textbook from a social justice perspective based on equity and inclusion. The project team reviewed and released the Oregon edition last spring based on feedback from faculty and students for critical, inclusive, and cultural pedagogies. The Oregon edition was then translated into Spanish. The book is currently being piloted in both English and Spanish language college success courses across Oregon. This presentation focuses on one pilot class, where the Spanish language version was piloted in a CG 100 College Guidance course in the Winter of 2023 and, more recently, this Fall of 2023.

Open educational resources break down barriers of cost and authority by offering content that is free to distribute and adapt based on user needs. College success material accessible through OER formats also makes it easier and affordable for first-time college/university students to develop the skills they need to navigate their new school environment. Such teaching resources are rarely available in Spanish, limiting access to the large population of Spanish-speaking students, including those who are not yet English proficient or those who are bilingual but feel more comfortable utilizing culturally relevant material in Spanish. Expanding these resources could significantly impact success, retention, and belonging among Spanish-speaking students. It is equally important to educate both the community and students on the existence of such resources. This session shares practical ways social justice can be centered in the OER textbook, with a focus on linguistic and cultural considerations. Participants will have an opportunity to dive into the textbook and explore ways they might use the text to support Spanish speakers in college success courses.

Link to slides

Effectively Communicating with Students via the Course Schedule: Textbook Affordability Policy Implementation Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Program Director, Open Oregon Educational Resources and Allia Service, OER Specialist, University of Oregon

A research report evaluating the effectiveness of textbook affordability policy implementation at Oregon’s 24 public community colleges and universities was completed in June 2023 by University of Oregon PPPM Capstone students. The capstone group’s student survey findings show that Oregon’s institutions can improve how we communicate with students about the cost of course materials via the course schedule. We’ll use hands-on time to explore institutional websites from a student perspective and take a deep dive into best practices for prominently sharing information about no-cost and low-cost options. Overall, Oregon’s community colleges and universities can be proud of the progress made since 2015, when the no-cost/low-cost schedule designation policy was passed. In the 2021-23 biennium, courses with the no-cost and low-cost designation in the schedule at 20 institutions are estimated to have saved 900,000 students (by headcount) in 50,000 course sections $70 million. Significant work has gone into implementation, and the data reflects this. The capstone group’s recommendations offer guidance for improving on the foundation already laid. More information: Evaluating Oregon’s Textbook Affordability Policies and Estimated 2021-23 Student Savings in No-Cost/Low-Cost Courses.

Link to slides