ACC selected as early adopter for state OER digital repository

By Carrie Gits, Highland Campus Library head librarian and associate professor


On September 1, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched OERTX, the state's digital repository of open educational resources (OER) for Texas. OERTX — provided through a partnership between the Coordinating Board and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) — was made possible by an appropriation from the Texas Legislature, House Bill 3652 (86th Texas Legislature).

What is OER?
Per the Texas Education Code, an open educational resource is defined as, "...a teaching, learning, or research resource that is in the public domain or has been released under an intellectual property license that permits the free use, adaptation, and redistribution of the resource by any person."

As part of our collegewide strategic goals, we've been working together to reduce barriers to student success by offering affordable course material options, such as freely available open educational resources. ACC is recognized for our success in and support of the use, adoption, and creation of OER. We've also worked hard to inform and encourage faculty participation in the pedagogical freedoms and flexibilities open educational resources allow. Faculty across the academic and workforce curriculums serve as OER champions and ambassadors and are actively engaged in teaching with OER in their courses.

What is OERTX?
OERTX is designed to facilitate the curation and discovery of OER digital textbooks and other OER used frequently or authored by Texas institutions of higher education. It supports the creation and customization of new resources to meet the needs of students and faculty.

As a result of our OER efforts, the Coordinating Board and ISKME invited ACC to serve as an early adopter and contributor to OERTX.

The ACC Hub on OERTX
Through the creation of an institutional ACC Hub on OERTX, we are provided with an opportunity to expand the discovery, creation, and dissemination of OER among ACC faculty. TLED Library Services in partnership with other TLED experts are working to seamlessly and accurately add OER that is faculty authored, adopted, and course relevant OER to the repository for further use and dissemination.

Faculty often ask, what open educational resources are being used by others across the college? Whether it is a full open textbook, a set of lesson plans or lectures, assessments, homework, videos, presentation slides, syllabi, or a full course curriculum — the ACC Hub endeavors to curate and organize the variety of OER ACC faculty use by making them more discoverable.

On the Hub, we've identified OER in use at ACC. They are organized into broad collections by Area of Study. Additional information was added to each OER to show alignment with the Texas Core Curriculum courses, co-requisite courses, and career and technical fields. We've done this by matching the OER to the academic and workforce course manual and specifying the ACC course a particular OER supports. As more open educational resources are identified, they will be added to the repository to expand the AoS collections.

The ACC Hub includes the ability to create groups for discussion or project collaboration.

Additionally, the Hub provides access to a free authoring tool, Open Author, to facilitate the creation and adaptation of OER.

The success of the Hub relies on input and collaboration from you, the ACC community. We encourage faculty and staff to explore OERTX and the ACC Hub. We also call on you to collaborate with colleagues locally and across the state. This can happen by joining one of the OERTX groups, authoring or creating OER the Open Author tool, or sharing OER used in a course by adding it to the repository and appropriate Area of Study collection.

Librarians and other TLED team members are available to help you along the way. Don't hesitate to reach out for help or support in the use, adoption, or creation of OER through TLED Consultations.

More OER Learning Opportunities:

Click here to watch a recording of Gits' video presentation at ACC's 2020 Distance Education Symposium.