OER_course_tabThere is a new feature in Blackboard Learn that is going to make it extremely easy for VCCS faculty to browse, preview, and adopt open courses to use in their classes. Now, when faculty login to Blackboard Learn, they will see a new tab at the top of their screen called OER Courses (OER stands for open educational resources. For a good definition of OER, see the Hewlett.org site). The new tab contains a list of openly licensed courses—courses that use free and open educational materials instead of traditional publisher-created textbooks—that have been developed, reviewed, and shared by VCCS faculty.

All VCCS faculty are welcome–scratch thatencouraged to browse this catalog of open courses to request access to preview any courses they are interested in. Once a faculty member finds a course they like, they can copy it into a Blackboard shell to use. For free. No strings attached.

Simple as pie, right? Well, that’s what we hope at least.

Currently, the following eleven open courses are available on the OER Courses tab:

  • BIO 101 General Biology I
  • BUS 100 Introduction to Business
  • BUS 236 Communication in Management
  • CST 100 Principles of Public Speaking
  • ECO 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECO 202 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ENG 111 College Composition I
  • ENG 112 College Composition II
  • ENG 243 Survey of English Literature I
  • PSY 200 Principles of Psychology
  • SDV 100 College Success Skills

If you want to take a guided tour of the new tab, feel free to register for a webinar that will walk you through the features of the tab and provide more details about adopting the courses found there. The next session is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25 from 9:00-10:00am via Blackboard Collaborate. You can register by completing the short online form: http://edtech.vccs.edu/sneak-preview-of-the-oer-courses-tab-in-blackboard-tuesday-aug-189-10am-sign-up-here/. Once you sing up, you will be emailed the link to join the webinar.

Hopefully, this new tab will make it easier than ever for interested faculty at colleges across the VCCS to adopt open courses, giving them more flexibility with their course materials and saving their students money to boot.