AMHERST, Mass.—UMass Amherst, in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, Worcester State College, and Holyoke Community College, was recently awarded a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund (PIF) program. The project, “Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All,” focuses on building capacity for open educational resources (OER) across the state.
OER are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessment, and research. Besides addressing student concerns over increasingly high textbook costs, OER allow faculty to adopt innovative pedagogical practices, such as designing learning materials tailored to their classes or involving students in the creative process.
“OER awareness has been steadily increasing throughout academia and the textbook industry,” said Marilyn Billings, Head of the UMass Amherst Libraries Scholarly Communication Department and principal investigator of the grant. “This grant gives us an opportunity to expand that awareness by increasing OER adoption, adaption, and creation throughout Massachusetts state schools.”
In addition, the project will seek applications from community college, state university, and UMass instructors to join a team developing OER course materials for a General Education (Gen Ed) Foundation course that is part of the Mass Transfer Block. This collaboration offers direct benefits to faculty and students at the 28 public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.
Interested faculty may register here for workshops for Massachusetts Open Education Regional Training, held on the following dates:
- Feb. 1: Northern Essex Community College
- Feb. 8: University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Mar. 12: Bridgewater State University
- Mar. 14: Worcester State University
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education website.