Spoiler Alert: Equity and Open Education Training Helps Faculty Make High-Impact Changes

By | March 13, 2023

This post was contributed by Jen Klaudinyi, Chandra Lewis, Caroline Qureshi, and Amy Hofer.

Higher education institutions often struggle to address longstanding inequities that create barriers to success for students, especially those who have been historically underserved or marginalized. Open educational resources (OER) – educational materials that are openly licensed, making them free for educators and students to use, customize, and share – have the potential to make education more inclusive, but to achieve this, faculty should pair open educational practices with an equity-informed approach to their teaching.

To support faculty in using open educational practices to make their curricula more inclusive, Open Oregon Educational Resources offers the Equity and Open Education (EOE) Faculty Cohort Model. This professional development course was created by library faculty member Jen Klaudinyi at Portland Community College. The curriculum…

  • Guides faculty in considering open educational practices with an equity lens, including universal design, cultural relevance, and diverse perspectives
  • Involves a four-week, small-group exploration to build learning communities that can dive into innovative ideas together
  • Provides the option for faculty to continue the course for another four weeks and redesign a course component, incorporating open and equitable materials and/or pedagogy
  • Has been taken by 200+ faculty from 20 Oregon institutions
  • Learn more in our one-page handout.

There are lots of equity trainings out there – how do we know this one is effective?

Jen and Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Program Director with Open Oregon Educational Resources, partnered with RMC Research, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, to conduct surveys with faculty participants and their students as well as one-on-one interviews with a handful of faculty to evaluate the EOE cohort model. RMC’s study is now complete and we’re excited to share their encouraging findings here.


Overall, nearly all faculty involved in RMC’s study reported that the EOE cohort model helped them make high-impact changes in their teaching practices. When RMC followed up with participants several months after they completed the cohort, 85% of respondents reported that they redesigned aspects of their courses, with 84% saying they incorporated more culturally responsive approaches, and the same percentage saying they employed universal design principles. Three-quarters said they incorporated OER into their course, and 60% included open pedagogy. In addition, 69% of EOE cohort model participants reported adopting openly licensed inclusive course materials and curricula, and 65% reported sharing these types of resources with colleagues.

In surveys of students who took courses taught by faculty who completed the EOE cohort, RMC found that nearly all students were assigned OER and were able to access course materials by the first day of their course. It’s also worth noting that the students gave their courses average scores of more than 3 on a scale of 1-4 (with 4 being the highest) on the following aspects:

  • Goal oriented engagement: 3.35
  • Sense of belonging: 3.27
  • Motivation: 3.26

Read the full research reports from RMC to learn more about the study and results:

Next steps

  1. Jen and Amy are looking for another state, system, institution, consortium, or organization to be the very first external adopter of the EOE model. All of Jen’s curriculum is shared with an open license, so anyone is welcome to adopt or adapt the materials. The Equity & Open Ed Model Expansion goal is to create another instance of the model as-is, including paying stipends to participants.
  2. Jen and Amy continue to track past participants’ presentations and publications. We are also considering how to develop a longer-term community among EOE alums.
  3. Open Oregon Educational Resources is working with RMC Research to assess the impact of our work on a federal OER grant. We are adapting some of the research instruments developed to assess the EOE model for the new study.

Research Advisory Board

The idea of inviting a Research Advisory Board to provide feedback on the research design and implementation was suggested by Angela DeBarger, Education Program Officer at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Board members brought their expertise to help the team focus on anti-racist and equitable practices.

Thank you Board members!

  • Rebecca Brooks, Associate Director, Student Support Services, Lewis & Clark College
  • Vivi Caleffi Prichard, Diversity and Equity Officer, Chemeketa Community College
  • Tracy Henninger, Faculty Instructor, Lane Community College
  • Camille Thomas, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Assistant University Librarian, Florida State University
  • Ernesto Vasquez, Multicultural & Diversity Resource Center Coordinator, Mt Hood Community College