The Countdown Begins: Open Course Materials Approach Launch Date!

By | March 5, 2024

This post was contributed by Michelle Culley, Grant Project Manager; Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Program Director; 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 in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), Sociology, and Criminal Justice. Read on for updates about different aspects of this large-scale project, and look out for an invitation to the launch party for our first publications, coming soon!

Spotlight on Multimedia 

Open Oregon Educational Resources strives to promote inclusive and equitable learning with engaging textbooks that incorporate various forms of media to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Multimedia helps learners draw connections between the content and their lived experiences. In the video Social Construction, below, Colin Stapp worked with authors Liz Pearce and Kimberly Puttman to create a video that helps students link social construction theory to their lived experiences.

Interactive textbook elements can address learning disparities by catering to different learning preferences, allowing for a more personal learning experience, providing alternate pathways for understanding, and increasing engagement. In the example of an H5P activity below, students can click on plus signs to learn more about the different parts of a graph.

Illustration shows that when you click on a plus sign in this activity, the background turns gray and explanatory text appears for more information.

OER Development Consultant Role

OER Development Consultants provide editorial and project management support to our authors. Right now the project has four OER Development Consultants supporting between 1-5 projects each.

Shauna Roch is a faculty member at Fanshawe College who is enthusiastic about lifelong learning and passionate about open education.

Matt DeCarlo earned his PhD in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University and is an Assistant Professor at La Salle University School of Arts & Sciences. He is the founder of Open Social Work Education, a non-profit collaborative advancing OER in social work education. Matt uses the Open Oregon Educational Resources books in his courses.

Maggie Frankel is a librarian, educator, and OER development consultant working out of San Francisco, CA. Maggie says:

It is very satisfying to watch the books develop through the writing, revision, and editing processes! I enjoy being part of a publishing project that intentionally weaves principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into its books. I didn’t grow up with learning materials that did this, and I’m so glad that this project means that more students will be able see themselves, their peers, their identities, and their cultures reflected and respected in their textbooks. The authors are all everyday professionals and educators in their fields. It’s inspiring to watch them add ‘textbook author’ to their list of titles, and to see the excellent educational materials that are resulting from this project!

Colleen Sanders is a librarian, instructional designer, and faculty developer who currently serves as the OER Faculty at Linn-Benton Community College. She has advocated for OER amidst bookstore outsourcing, co-created WA100, and co-teaches the Certificate in Open Education for Librarians for Library Juice Academy. Colleen says:

Serving on this project has shifted my baseline for what I hope for from OER, especially in regards to equity, accessibility, and alignment. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do deep work with faculty authors in different disciplines across the state, and I’m looking forward to helping LBCC faculty adopt these materials for our students. The curricula feel like game-changers.

Pilot Instructor Signups

Open Oregon Educational Resources seeks course pilot instructors to design, develop, deliver, revise, and share open course designs that make use of open educational resources in the courses listed below (course titles and numbers vary between institutions). Pilot instructors will have the support of an instructional designer and receive a stipend. Please use our signup form.

  • 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

Note that the signup form requires a letter of support from your department chair, dean, or similar role that is responsible for assigning courses. The purpose of the letter is to verify that you will be assigned to teach the redesigned course at least one time before June 30, 2023. Here are some reasons that your institution might benefit from making this commitment:

  • It’s prestigious to participate in a statewide grant-funded project
  • This project advances institutional goals for both affordability and equity
  • Faculty will participate in a community of practice and bring what they learn back to the institution

Presentations About Our Work

We have team members attending the upcoming Pacific Sociological Conference:

  • Incorporating Place into an Introductory Sociology OER Textbook. Matthew Gougherty and Jennifer Puentes, Eastern Oregon University
  • Embracing Open Educational Resources and Shared Culture in Academia. Shanell Sanchez and Kelly Szott, Southern Oregon University; Heidi Esbensen, Portland Community College; and Kim Puttman, Oregon Coast Community College

Team members are also traveling to the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity Conference, including one student presenter:

  • Culturally Responsive Teaching: Embracing Open Education Resources in Higher Education. Shanell Sanchez and Catherine Venegas-Garcia, Southern Oregon University

Team members had a warm reception at the Student Success and Retention Conference:

  • Fostering Belonging Equity and Inclusion with Open Pedagogy and Open Textbooks. Kimberly Puttman, Oregon Coast Community College, and Heidi Esbensen, Portland Community College

And we had a strong showing at the 2023 Open Education Conference:

  • Doing the Work: Centering DEI in OER through Instructional Design and Equity Consultation. Veronica Vold, Open Oregon Educational Resources, and Heather Blicher, Open Education Global

    Challenges that I’m not sure we talk about enough include missing stories. In history, the focus tends to be on contributions by white men. BIPOC people, that is, black, indigenous and people of color made important contributions, but they were less visible or intentionally ignored in history books. – Heather Blicher, Equity Consultant

  • Sharing Impact of Instructional Design Support on Open Educational Practices. Amy Hofer and Veronica Vold, Open Oregon Educational Resources; Chandra Lewis and Ben Skillman, RMC Research Corporation

    A very exciting finding [is] while only 48% of students reported a high sense of belonging at their college, 67% reported a high sense of belonging in their course. – Chandra Lewis, Senior Research Consultant, RMC Research Corporation

  • Iterating Toward Equity: Collaborating to Design, Pilot, Revise, and Publish Inclusive OER in Oregon. Monica Olvera, Oregon State University; Alishia Huntoon, Oregon Institute of Technology; Terese Jones, Liz Pearce, and Colleen Sanders, Linn-Benton Community College

    [Institutions are] not about looking at flipping a system on its head and making room for more people. And we need these textbooks that are very much about that to be accepted and used in these institutions that are very much not about that. So there is a natural discrepancy between the work of open pedagogy and higher education as a system, at least as we experience that system in this country. I think that’s where a lot of the fun of the work resides. It’s also where a lot of the challenges emerge. – Terese Jones, Author and Pilot Instructor


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.