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Open Educational Resources

Houston CC System Expands OER Use Across All Campuses

college student studying with laptop

In an effort to increase the use of open educational resources across its nine campuses, the Houston Community College System is partnering with OER provider panOpen. PanOpen's platform will give HCCS faculty "greater options for robust and fully supported tools to aid their use of OER," according to the company.

HCCS is no stranger to OER: In 2017 it launched a pilot Z-Degree program (Z for zero textbook costs), offering OER-based associate degrees in business administration and general studies. In the last two years, HCCS OER initiatives have saved students more than $2.5 million, according to a news announcement. And by spring of next year, all nine main HCCS campuses will offer Z-Degree-based core curriculum.

Through the panOpen partnership, students enrolled in Z-Degree programs will be able to access their courseware on the panOpen platform for free, and those taking non-Z-Degree courses will pay a nominal fee. PanOpen's tools will allow all students to read and take quizzes on any device, communicate with faculty and peers, and automatically build study guides on course materials.   

"Lowering the cost of educational materials and improving equity of access should not mean that faculty need to compromise on the quality of the content or the tools and support for it," said Jerome Drain, interim associate vice chancellor, instructional services, in a statement. "The partnership with panOpen means that ultimately, students will benefit from the high-quality tools and support afforded the faculty. We are excited to work with them to open up access and help improve student persistence and success."

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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