Strategic Initiatives

Massachusetts Open Education:
Achieving Access for All


Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All is a collaborative project focused on building capacity for open educational resources (OER) across the state.


Robert J. Awkward, Ph.D.,
Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment
(617) 994-6908

OER Team


2018 – Present

Related Data



Target Populations
  • Low-Income
DHE Responsibilities
  • Access
  • Affordability
  • Completion

Multiple Campuses

Related Initiatives



Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All is a collaborative project focused on building capacity for open educational resources (OER) across the state. Leaders of the project include open education advocates from University of Massachusetts, State Universities, and Community Colleges. Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes ( This collaboration offers direct benefits to faculty and students at the 28 public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.

Assessing the OER Landscape

An important outcome of this project is to assess the OER landscape at all public higher education institutions in Massachusetts. By gathering data and information from each college about current OER usage, we will analyze the results to determine regional training needs, assisting the project in achieving its goal of lowering overall costs for students, increasing student and faculty engagement, and ultimately improving college completion rates.

OER Final Report & Recommendations

On October 22, 2019, the Board of Higher Education accepted the Final OER Report & Recommendations, Fall 2019 from the Commissioner’s OER Work Group and endorsed implementation of its recommendations. The OER Work Group, co-chaired by Marilyn Billings, Head, Office for Scholarly Research Communications, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Susan Tashjian, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, Northern Essex Community College, led a team of 21 individuals from the University of Massachusetts System, state universities and community colleges who worked assiduously over four months to convene, study, evaluate, and make recommendations to address: a) the growing legislative interest in lowering the cost of educational resources, b) the issues of achieving equity for under-served, low-income, and first-generation students, and c) the enhancement of instructional effectiveness. The recommendations from this working group, comprised of librarians, faculty, administrators, students, and external representatives, were time-based, i.e., short-term, mid-term, and long-term. The to be created statewide OER advisory council and the statewide OER coordinator will be responsible for implementing the short-term recommendations and developing plans, after conducting additional research, for how to implement the mid and long-term recommendations. This effort was accomplished due to the strong and consistent advocacy of the Student Advisory Council.

Statewide OER Regional Trainings Events

Topics include, but not limited to:

  1. Understanding OER (introduction to OER, open licensing, shared examples of OER, and discussion of OER adoption models)
  2. Teaching and Learning with Free and Open Educational Resources (ways to find and use free, CC licensed and public domain content, make content accessible, and incorporate open pedagogy)
  3. The Value of Open (benefits of OER and open pedagogy, examples of OER initiatives, research on OER, and data on the impact of OER)
  4. Implementing and Scaling OER Initiatives (collaboration, starting your initiative, policy, strategies, structure and process, and communicating about OER)

Review an Open Textbook

Faculty who attend a regional training event will have the opportunity to review an open textbook and receive a $200 stipend. Faculty will have six weeks to complete the open textbook review. 

Training Dates and Locations

Register today by filling out the OER Training Registration Form.

February 1, 2019
Northern Essex Community College

February 8, 2019
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

March 12, 2019
Bridgewater State University

March 14, 2019
Worcester State University

March 20, 2019
Roxbury Community College

May 23, 2019: OER Course Development Day - Northeast OER Summit
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Call for OER Developers - Apply for $1,000 stipend!

The MA Open Education project team is seeking applications from faculty from all 28 MA Public Higher Education institutions to join us for a launch event where faculty will work in teams to pool resources and experiences to curate, adapt and develop materials for specific high enrollment courses.

Course Development Day is your chance to work with other innovative faculty from across MA in a team-based approach to develop ancillary materials (i.e., lecture slides, assessments, study guides, test banks) for a specific group of high-enrollment courses (listed above) included in the Mass Transfer block.

Do you teach one of the eligible courses? Apply today!