The Open Educational Resources initiative grew out of recommendations from the Commissioner’s OER Work Group and aims to expand OER use on campuses and provide advice and counsel to the DHE for statewide implementation.
Robert J. Awkward, Ph.D.,
Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment
2018 – Present
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.
These freely accessible text, media, and other digital assets are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposesؙ—this collaboration offers direct benefits to faculty and students at the 28 public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.
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— comprised of librarians, faculty, administrators, students, and external representatives—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, were time-based, i.e., short-term, mid-term, and long-term. This effort was accomplished due to the strong and consistent advocacy of the Student Advisory Council.
As a result of the October vote, Dr. Robert J. Awkward from the DHE was designated the statewide OER coordinator and the statewide advisory council will soon be convened. This will be comprised of one representative from each of the 28 undergraduate-serving public institutions. The advisory council will serve to expand OER use on campuses and to provide advice and counsel for statewide OER implementation. The 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.
Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All was a specific collaborative project from 2018-2019 that helped to build OER capacity across the state. This project was led by an open education advocate representative from UMass Amherst, Worcester State University, Holyoke Community College, and Northern Essex Community College and was funded by a Higher Education Innovation Fund (formerly known as the Performance Incentive Fund) grant.
An important outcome of this project was 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 were able to analyze the results to determine regional training needs, assist the project in achieving its goal of lowering overall costs for students, increase student and faculty engagement, and ultimately improve college completion rates.
The following are the members of the OER Advisory Council, recommended by their respective chancellor or president to serve to advance OER statewide and within their own campuses. There is one representative from each of the 28 undergraduate-serving institutions.
*Names in bold are from the OER Working Group
|OER Statewide Coordinator||Robert Awkward, Director of Learning Outcomes Assessmentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|DHE Executive Sponsor||Patricia A. Marshall, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs & Student Successemail@example.com|
|Student Advisory Council: Community College||Jorgo Gushi, Quinsigamong Community Collegefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Student Advisory Council: State University||McKenzie Ward, Framingham State Universityemail@example.com|
|Student Advisory Council: State University*||Kerry McManus, Fitchburg State Universityfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Employer Representative||Cherie Comeau, Sr. Manager, Leadership & Organization Development
Consigli Construction Co., Inc.
|Ex-Officio||Matt NoyesDirector of Trustee & Government Relationsemail@example.com|
|Ex-Officio||Kelly Jo WoodsideMassachusetts Library Systemsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ex-Officio||Stacy BougieAssociate Director of External Relationsemail@example.com|
*This was designated for UMass System, but nobody responded to SAC Chair Gushi’s entreaties. Thus, the slot has been filled with a state university designee.
|Berkshire Community College||Karen Hines, Associate Professor, Businessfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Bristol Community College||Dr. Yashwant Sinha, Assistant Professor of Offshore Wind Energy||Yashwant.Sinha@bristolcc.edu|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Danielle Leek, Academic Innovation & Distance Education (AIDE) Director
|Ceit De Vitto, AIDE Senior Special Programs Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|Cape Cod Community College||Catherine Sughrue Etter, Professor of Sciencefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Greenfield Community College||Tim Dolan, Librarianemail@example.com|
|Holyoke Community College||Kris Choleva, Interim Dean of Business & Technology Divisionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|MassBay Community College||Bernadette Sibuma, Director of Online Learningemail@example.com|
|Massasoit Community College||Jesse Schreier, Coordinator of Institutional Technologyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Middlesex Community College||Donna Maturi, Library Directoremail@example.com|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||Ellen Pratt, Librarianfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|North Shore Community College||Andrea Milligan, Director, Center for Teaching & Learningemail@example.com|
|Northern Essex Community College||Jody Carson, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Educationfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Susan Tashjian, Coordinator of Instructional Technology,
OER Advisory Council Co-chair
|Quinsigamond Community College||Amy Beaudry, Professor of English & Academic Technology Facilitatoremail@example.com|
|Roxbury Community College||William Hoag, Library Directorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Springfield Techincal Community College||Chelsea Contrada, Outreach & OER Librarianemail@example.com|
|Bridgewater State University||Jessica Birthisel, Associate Professor, Communications Studiesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Fitchburg State University||Jacalyn Kremer, Dean of the Libraryemail@example.com|
|Framingham State University||Millie Gonzalez, Emerging Technologies & Digital Services Librarianfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|MassArt||Rachel Resnik, Technical Services Librarianemail@example.com|
|MCLA||Emily Alling, Associate Dean of Library||Emily.Alling@mcla.edu|
|Mass Maritime||Carolyn Michaud, Access Services Managerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Salem State University||Elizabeth McKeigue, Dean of the Libraryemail@example.com|
|Westfield State University||Tom Raffensperger, Dean of Information Services & Library Directorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Worcester State University||Matt Bejune, Executive Director of the Libraryemail@example.com|
|UMass Amherst||Marilyn Billings, Head, Office of Scholarly Communications,
OER Advisory Council Co-chair
|Jeremy Smith, Digital Project Managerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|UMass Boston||Apurva Mehta, Associate Chief Information Officer||Apurva.Mehta@umb.edu|
|UMass Dartmouth||Dawn Gross, Interim Library Deanemail@example.com|
|UMass Lowell||Donna Mellen, Associate Director of Academic Technology||Donna_Mellen@uml.edu|
|UMass Medical||Regina Raboin, Associate Library Director||Regina.Raboin@umassmed.edu|
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN), a consortium of colleges and universities working to advance open textbook initiatives. OTN supports the Open Textbook Library. a searchable online catalog of complete textbooks available for faculty and students to freely use, adapt, and distribute to best meet the needs of thier courses.
One of the benefits of OTN membership is that the DHE, in conjunction with OTN staff, will coordinate full-day “train-the-trainer” workshops that will be offered to OER Advisry Council members and their respective institutional OER leaders.
The two Train-the-Trainer sessions that were previously scheduled have been postponed in response to COVID-19. We will publish new dates once they are determined.
These workshops will focus on:
Faculty who attend an institutional training event will have the opportunity to review an open textbook and receive a $200 stipend. Faculty will have five to six weeks to complete the open textbook review. Details to be provided.
Other benefits include attendance at the OTN Summer Institute for statewide OER leaders, participation in their Google group, access to their Open Textbook Library, discounted institutional membership, and their data dashboard. We are excited about this new partnership for all our public institutions.
April 8, 2020
Download: Agenda New England OER Landscape Presentation Student Advisory Council OER Initiative Presentation