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Open Educational Resources

SUNY Invests in OER Systemwide at No Cost to Students

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The State University of New York has just signed a three-year partnership with open educational resources provider Lumen Learning to support wide-scale adoption of OER across the system. Lumen will provide digital courseware, a catalog of OER deemed "ready to adopt" for SUNY courses, OER efficacy research, and services such as help desk support and integration with institutions' learning management systems. Students will have access to the course materials and services at no cost to them.

SUNY has worked with Lumen since 2012 to explore the use of OER course materials to support learning and improve college affordability, according to a news announcement. A SUNY OER Services team is dedicated to raising awareness about OER and its benefits for faculty and students. In Spring 2019, more than 10,000 students across the SUNY system used Lumen-supported OER course materials — an increase of 75 percent over the previous year, the announcement said.

"Open educational resources are a great investment because they not only save students money, but they empower our faculty to regain control over their classroom content and there is mounting evidence OER can improve learning. So if we save students money, empower our faculty and improve the learning experience, it's a win for everyone," commented Mark McBride, library senior strategist for the State University of New York. "To implement this innovation successfully across SUNY, faculty and students need to be well-supported with outstanding OER content, reliable technology, excellent learning design, meaningful accessibility and responsive user support. Lumen is uniquely qualified to partner with SUNY for these strategic priorities."

"A large, diverse higher education system like SUNY needs a vibrant ecosystem to support our many campuses, faculty members, students, and all the ways they are finding to innovate with OER in the classroom," said Carey Hatch, interim senior associate provost for academic services at the State University of New York, in a statement. "Lumen shares our vision for empowering faculty members to make continuous improvements to their course materials to strengthen learning, informed by learning data and their classroom experiences. This is a unique partnership working productively on many levels."

"Our partnership with SUNY is the largest and most comprehensive initiative to date focused on using OER as a primary tool to encourage teaching and learning innovation, with direct positive impact on students, faculty, institutions, and the system as a whole," noted Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. "This partnership creates a service infrastructure for discovering, creating, using and iteratively improving course materials that are highly effective for learning, simple to adopt and sustainable to maintain over time."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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