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B-CU invited to host the Inaugural HBCU Forum Focusing on Open Education Resources (OER) - Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$)

Date: November 13, 2018

Description:  This year’s HBCU OER Forum will host 30 HBCUs who were selected to participate in a pilot grant for assisting faculty and students (both online and onsite) with Open Education Resources (OER) 'Affordable Learning Solutions'. These model HBCU’s will present and share their AL$ strategies and outcomes, along with other online education initiatives that emerge as priorities for HBCU’s.   This Forum will be held on November 13th on the campus of Bethune Cookman University.  Participants will then take advantage of attending the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate International Conference which is November 13-16, 2018 in Orlando. B-CU serves as a role model for the HBCU OER Pilot Project. B-CU’s strategic goals and campus implementation plans have been ranked as three of the top models for making education affordable at HBCUs http://www.becool4ed.org/

Dr. Arletha McSwain, Dean of B-CU Global Online is serving as the principal investigator of the grant attained through the California State University’s Multimedia Education Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) in partnership with Tennessee State University (lead agency for coordinating the selected HBCU Pilots for 2018-2019) with grant awards from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support HBCUs.  “The unfortunate reality is that students all over the county are having to choose between buying a book or food and basic living necessities.  B-CU is strategically addressing this issue head on.  We look forward to reviewing the data so the we can make research based and student oriented decisions for the Spring 2019 semester” states Dean McSwain.

In addition to the grant award, B-CU received from Tennessee State University, B-CU Global Online College received a Title III award which provided professional development activities for 39 online faculty to redesign all general education core courses and the courses required for the Spring 2019 MBA online degree using OER.   A total of 54 courses will be redesigned.

California State University (CSU) is committed to seeking new ways to foster student success and encourage students to graduate in a timely manner. One initiative that is helping to meet that goal is the Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative (AL$)” which aims to ease the financial burden of paying for textbooks. The program uses several strategies to provide students with affordable options for learning including access to free online materials and courses, low cost to free e--textbooks, library resources, free faculty professional development and training. The noted options have resulted in students saving $39 million in 2017.  The CSU’s Cool4Ed Website of OER Resources for academic disciplines across the spectrum of higher education(http://www.cool4ed.org) was a critical component of their Affordable Learning Solutions strategy.

HBCU Forum Co-Coordinators:  

Dr. Gerard L. Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Technology Services, Executive Director, MERLOT (www.merlot.org), Director, SkillsCommons (www.skillscommons.org), California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Dr. Moustapha Diack, SU System Assistant VP for Online Services & Director, Faculty Professional Development Services - Southern University A&M College   

Dr. Robbie K. Melton, HBCU- OER Program Co-Coordinator and Dean of Graduates & Professional Studies at Tennessee State University. 

HBCU KEYNOTE:  Acting President The Honorable Hubert L. Grimes

OER HBCU Forum / Pre-Conference Audience: 30 HBCU OER Pilot Schools and Faculty OER Course Designers from Bethune Cookman University.  

Alignment to University Strategic Goals: Hosting the OER Forum / HBCU aligns with the University Strategic Goals for Promoting Student Success, Increasing Access and Opportunity and Enhancing the Academic Enterprise.

Alignment to University Key Performance Indicators: The implementation of OER has implications for increasing accessibility, affordability, retention, and completion which are essential key performance indicators.  B-CU continues to pursue ways to enhance student and faculty success. As such, the partnership with OER- Open Education Resources, Tennessee State University (TSU) and California State University (CSU) will allow B-CU students to expand their access to learning materials online which will reduce their textbook costs. Faculty will be able to augment their class materials and customize lectures with innovative virtual resources.  By reducing student course material expenses, more students acquire the course materials they need to succeed and benefit from their learning experience. 

Benefits to Students:  OER uses several strategies to provide students with affordable options for learning including access to free online materials and courses, low cost to free e-textbooks, OER library resources.  OER is valuable to all students in all disciplines and affords them the ability to acquire a multitude of resources needed to be successful in their coursework thus enhancing their B-CU learning experience.

Benefits to Faculty: Open Education Resources - Affordable Learning Solutions enables faculty to choose and provide more affordable, quality educational content for their students.  Enables faculty to identify and offer quality free or low-cost course material content that can replace more costly print textbooks. Enables faculty to share and be recognized for best practices, quality teaching and efforts to reduce student costs by using free or low cost digital and print content in their B-CU courses.

“This event will provide a great opportunity for a meeting of the minds who are exploring educational modalities that will enhance student knowledge while relieving the cost of an education” Acting President Grimes states.



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