55: Open Educational Resources at University of Georgia w/ Nick Colvard

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Nicholas Colvard, Lecturer and Academic Coach in the Division of Academic Enhancement at University of Georgia, discusses both the potential economic and academic benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER) and the results of their latest findings re: OER at University of Georgia.

You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network, Americleson evp of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr Nicholas Colvard, lecturer and academic coach in the Division of Academic Enhancement at University of Georgia. Nick, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. So excited to speak with you today and talk about both the potential economic and academic benefits of open educational resources ore. Before we dig into that, Nick, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both University of Georgia and your rule there? Yeah, of course. So, the University of Georgia is a land and Sea Grant Institution in Georgia. It's actually known as probably the first public university in the country for, you know, an Undergrad education. Currently we have around twenty six to twenty seven thousand undergraduates and rolled maybe actually the number is getting closer to twenty nine thousand, and we have a variety of students, sir or demographics in which make up that Undergrad body. We also have multiple graduate level schools or institutions within the university and a whole suite of faculty disciplines that would address those needs for both the land and seacrant funding. My role at the University of Georgia, or what I'll just say Uga from now on, is working in the academic division of academic enhancement as a lecturer and academic coach, and I'm specifically the lecturer for our stem or science, technology, engineering and mathematics literacies course. So this is helping...

...elevate all students and getting them ready for a stem based major to complete their undergraduate career. Cheer at Uga and the Division of academic enhancement is here to help support students as they enter their college career, insurance success and completion, especially for those that may be underrepresented or even a first jen college student. Nick, to start this conversation off today, can you get the listeners a quick overview of what open educational resources are and some of the practical and maybe more audacious goals and hopes behind them are okay. So, like you had mentioned, open educational resources are Oeer. Are High Quality Teaching, learning and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose. So, oh we are. Can consist of a text, media or other digital assets not solely limited to just textbooks. Oh we are. Materials are licensed in a manner that provide users with free and perpetual permission to engage in what we call the five are activities or five are permissions, and those consist of retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. And so, breaking those down, retain allows the individual to have the right to make own and control copies of the content. So, for example, you can download, duplicate, store and manage that resource to tailor it to your specific demographic or your specific student body. You can reuse it. So the rights on that material are for you to use the content in a wide range of ways. So, for example, in a class and a study group, on a website, in a video, you don't have to essay use it for its initial intended...

...purpose. You can again re use it to fit the needs of your student group. Revised allows you to have the rights to adapt, just modify or even alter the content itself again and to best encourage your students to use that material. For example, if you needed to translate some text into another language or provide it in a manner that is approachable to your students with the socioeconomic background that they may have, you have the right and freedom to do so. Remix is allowing the user to have the right to combine that original work with other revised content or other materials to create something new and so, in the sense, you can mash it up with other works or material that you may already have personally and then finally redistribute. So this is giving you the right to share copies of that original work, along with your revisions or your remixes, with others and in es, since you're just contributing to the larger work that's out there, of o we are and helping spread that curriculum far and wide. Super appreciate the high level over you to kick us off today. You recently coauthored a paper called the impact of open educational resources on various students success metrics. Can you give us a high level overview of the study and its findings regarding oh we are at Uga. So, like I'd mentioned, I'm currently a lecture an academic coach within division of Economic Enhancement. However, during the study I was a research associate within the center for teaching and learning at the University of Georgia, and my colleagues and Co Authors on this work Dr Eddie Watson, who at the time was the director of the CTL at Georgia, but is now the associate vice president for quality advocacy and leap initiatives at the Association of American colleges and universities, or AAC, and you...

...and Joey Jan Park, who at the time was a postdoctoral scholar in the CTL and now a lecturer at the Ewaw Women's University in Korea. The group of US wanted to evaluate how courses employing O we are impacted student success metrics and student academic achievement by disaggregating student performance based upon a few metrics, and what we first wanted to breakdown was those that were federally determined to be receiving in significant financial aid, or essentially federal pell grant recipients. A additionally, we looked at student ethnic origin. And finally, our study evaluated registration status of the students, so part time versus full time students. So using those metrics, we looked at eight large introductory level courses that span a range of disciplines across the university, everything from biology to sociology, psychology and even history. And those courses initially a going back a few years ago. We're were approached by the CTL because of the large student populations that were enrolled in them. They had a large or an expensive commercial textbook associated with the curriculum at the time and the CTL, along with the faculty involved in those courses, felt that maybe that would be the best target to work on. Employee or adopting an o we are to have the broadest reach to the student population here at Ega. And if you wanted to find out some more information about how that steady was done or set up, you can look at a recent publication by Watson, Domezi and closer in two thousand and seventeen, which looked at that initial setup of this of kind of recruiting these different faculty members and disciplines into adopting o we are, and then also faculty and student perception around that. However, our study was really looking at kind of a postalk analysis and...

...after the fact of those adoptions and how that may have impacted student performance or student grades. So study found that average course grades increased for all students when o we ares were adopted, and that's great, but it also found disproportionately increased those grades for Pel recipient students, students of color and parttime students or what we consider kind of non traditional students. Additionally, we saw significant decreases in dfw rates or D F and withdrawal grades for those same cohorts of students and courses that adopted Oh we are compared to those same courses prior to our adoption. Now this is extremely encouraging because we feel like O we are helping to level the academic claim field for those students that maybe historically underserved in higher education. Now I do want to note that these eight courses that had the corresponding faculty members associated to them. We only evaluated those courses that had the same instructor pre and post our adoption. So we were working to eliminate faculty bias or a potential confounding factor of a different faculty member teaching a course with or without O we are. So we try to account for the Faculty member when looking at these courses. So that kind of narrow down our scope, though there are more courses that do adopt O we are here at Uga we were really constrained by this. Exact courses that also had the that same faculty member teaching them prior to an oe are adoption. Now we recognize there are other limitations or assumptions that were made in our study. Again, we are only able to consider students in a single large aggregate and that was due to federal privacy regulations around student financial aid, and that's a federally mandated regulation or...

Privacy Law. Some of the courses that adopted O we are did have assistance from the CTL in course design and kind of helping them through that process of how do you redesign a course with the intention of taking on a new textbook or curriculum, and is also probable that the adoption of Oh we are based textbook served as maybe a catalyst to further the instructors engagement with their teaching. But this is still a great step and better in our understand of how we are can impact students. Additionally, the study only evaluated end of course grades, so, though there are a number of other course assessments that went into generating those final grades for these respective classes, because of the nature of the data set, final grades were the only thing that we were able to use to assess student performance. Ultimately, the study suggests that O we are speaks to all three of the Great Challenges Facing Higher Education today affordability, retention and completion and quality of student learning. Naked's actually fascinating research. You mentioned some of the different potential takeaways that you could have when looking at the study, and people have have had those. Some wondering whether, like you mentioned, the O we are materials themselves were simply better and cause the improved impact. Some believing that the affordability of our resources means that students who can't afford Ford or choose not to purchase traditional textbooks are actually using the textbooks and their course, and the study proves that this is a clear case of pure access causing the academic improvement. What's your personal confidence level that making course materials more affordable with O we are does indeed improve student utilization? Well, I believe the research speaks for itself here along with other studies. So not only our stay but several other work out there are showing the positive impact O we are having...

...on student engagement, student participation and students success in their courses. The variable ways students are able to access and use material allow for that. There are studies and student testimonials that speak to this specifically where students talk about how they can access their curriculum from their computer, from their mole devices, when they're in a car, when they're in the library, when they're at home, and not having a care round or keep track of multiple books, or even large textbooks for that matter, is allowing for that ease of engagement in the material. So some students have reported and using even the audio feature to listen to their books, like I said, on a commute when they're traveling to that university, especially those non traditional students that are working a full time job as well. So we are speaks to the affirmission attainment gap. There is an expectation that grades are an indicator student achievement within course settings and by simply ensuring that all students, regardless of their need or background, have access to course materials on the first day of class, the quality and extent of learning appears to be improved. Nick, you thought talked through some of the student testimonials that you have seen and heard firsthand. Can you talk about some of the Faculty Perceptions of Oh we are at Uga? I'm curious what some of the strongest cases for adoption and non adoption of open educational resources are today. Yeah, so, though our study down explicitly look at student or even faculty perception around O we are. Again, I would direct you to some of the research that is out there that that speaks to that and again, the Watson Domesian clauser in two thousand and seventeen did look at that specifically. But I believe there are many faculty, instructors and even administration out there that do...

...not yet know what oo we are are and by that are skeptical just from the unknown. And as we, the are community, are working to increase that knowledge base, we will see more and more support for this work across the country, and that spans from two year colleges to private for your universities and everything in between. As you increase people's understanding and knowledge of what this curriculum is, how it's vetted, how it goes through an editorial process just like commercial textbooks, then you will see an increase support and adoption by a magnitude of the Faculty and instructors. Nick any next steps, recommendations for other institutions who listening today really excited about what they're hearing and excited about the promise that we see in your research, who are trying to think about how to investigate the possibility of moving toward open educational resources on their campus, I would say, you know, look into o we are. Give it a chance. You owe it to your students to provide a high quality material that ensures affordability, retention, completion and quality of student learning for all students, again, regardless of their background or their need or their socioeconomic history. Provide training, workshops and initiatives to help faculty understand what O we are are and how they can begin to apply them into their classroom. I would say find an oe are champion on your campus to help support faculty and administration in that process so you're equivalent centers for teaching and learning. The libraries are amazing partners and resources in this process. If you're curious to see this done, even on a statewide scale. I would encourage you to look at Utah and see what they're doing with O we are, and they're doing this from everything from the primary education up to higher education. It is extremely encouraging to see the wide range that this can take place. And even just recently Congress approve the Perkins...

Career and Technical Education Act. And so this is HR twenty three, hundred and fifty three, and this bill includes for the first time provisions permitting o we are as an allowable use of funds for state and local centers for technology and education activities. And so use that as maybe a springboard or an encouragement to see what your university, your your institution can do to adopt O we are. And if you start small, that's fine, like you ga did, target some of those large classes that are having the biggest impact on your kind of introductory level freshman, sophomore student, and then you can start to expand out to some of those more specified, smaller courses with encouragement and increased perception or adoption from your faculty. Nick, thank you so much for your time today. What's the best place for list NDS to connect with you? They have any follow up questions. So my email is Nicholas Dot Col Bard at you Ga. doted you, and I'm also on twitter at Nicholas Cole Bard. I'd be happy to address any further points of questions or comments that you may have as well, as, you know, encourage you to see what other resources are out there. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today. Nick. Thank you very much for the opportunity. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook.

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