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York College to focus on free, affordable instructional materials through participation in Institute on Open Educational Resources

August 09, 2021
A photo of WPAC and students walking through the beautiful on campus tress

YORK, Pa. – York College is one of 66 institutions selected to participate in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2021-22 Institute on Open Educational Resources (OER). This new yearlong institute is designed to support educators in launching, expanding, or hastening campus adoption of free and affordable instructional materials. The inaugural institute began with a two-day virtual kickoff event in July 2021 and will conclude with a capstone closing event in July 2022.

Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials, from single lessons to entire textbooks, that are often free for faculty and students to use, customize, and share. Using OER not only helps students save money, but it can also level the academic playing field. Research on OER has demonstrated a reduction in failure and withdrawal rates in some courses. Additionally, using OER offers faculty more flexibility to provide their students with contextualized content, helping students see personal relevancy in what they are learning.

“We have brought together a diverse team, representing several academic fields, the library, and student accessibility services,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Randi Shedlosky-Shoemaker, who is helping to lead York College’s efforts. “I believe strongly that we can have a wide-reaching impact across the campus. We have many important initiatives going on around campus, and OER can be a mechanism to work toward those goals."

"York College's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives include finding digital solutions for first-generation and other students who may not be able to afford the full cost of college,” said Provost Laura Niesen de Abruña. “Providing online resources in lieu of textbooks aligns with York College's digital strategies and its commitment to making College more affordable.”