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Category: VCCS News (Page 1 of 10)

So Long, Farewell, Adieu: Leaving the VCCS

March 15, 2016 will be my last day at the System Office of the Virginia Community College System. I am leaving my position as Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies to begin the next stage of my career as the Director of Programs and Policy at Achieving the Dream (ATD).  In my new role I will be overseeing ATD’s new OER Degree Initiative, an effort to fund the […]

Virginia is for Open: OpenEd 2016 in RVA

Last year, Richmond, Virginia was the host city for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, a weeklong, international bicycle race second in importance only to the better-known Tour de France. It was a great event, with thousands of visitors from all over the globe crowding along the course route to watch the world’s top cyclists zip by. A few months […]

Excellence in Education Award Finalists

When discussing higher education, there is often a focus on the more serious, systemic problems facing institutions–rising costs, poor outcomes, a stultified academic culture, dwindling public resources–all important topics that need to be addressed–and less attention on the often minute, personal exchanges that make higher education so essential and so powerful: the life-changing impact on thousands of learners fostered by talented and dedicated faculty members. We […]

Respondus Training

During the month of February, Respondus®, maker of the VCCS-licensed products Respondus Lockdown Browser (LDB), Respondus 4.0, and StudyMate, is offering a series of webinar trainings to help instructors effectively use Respondus applications with online tests. The webinar sessions are each 45-minutes long and focus on creating online assessments and deterring cheating during online exams. The schedule is below. Instructor Training for LockDown […]

zELI: NVCC Turns It Up To 11

Lumen_Learning_–_Partner__NOVA_zELILast week the Extended Learning Institute (ELI), Northern Virginia Community College’s online program, and Lumen Learning issued a joint press release announcing that nine of the 24 courses that make up NVCC’s all-OER General Education degree are now available to the public on Lumen’s Candela platform. Eventually, all of these “zELI” courses–Z-Degree + ELI– will be publicly available as well.

Perhaps you are a bit surprised that these courses, and the courses that make up Tidewater Community College’s Z-Degree, aren’t already publicly accessible. Weren’t they created, like, two years ago, you ask? While the courses have been available “by request,” you had to find the unmarked door and know the secret knock to get them. This is the first time a full Z-Degree will be shared on the open web. For those of you shouting, “It’s about time! These are supposed to be open, you know!”  keep in mind that ushering these precious little darlings into the sunlight is more difficult than it looks.

With the eventual release of the full set of zELI courses, along with Tidewater’s Z-Degree courses and the 104 or so courses being developed for the Zx23 Project, it looks like 2016 will bring a dramatic increase in publicly available, high-quality OER courses. It will be interesting to see if having these degree pathways out there for public consumption will spur an increase in adoption of both individual courses and full Z-Degrees. The joint press release is below. You can access the zELI courses on the Candela platform by clicking here:

Hello, I’m MTH 240: Introducing New OER for Statistics

CC-BY-SA: CollegeDegrees360

CC-BY-SA: CollegeDegrees360

Hi there. Let me introduce myself. I’m MTH 240, but you can call me Statistics. I am a blend of OpenStax College’s Introductory Statistics and OER from other trustworthy sources, making me the ideal, and first, open course in statistics designed for students majoring in fields other than mathematics and engineering. Before you take me you should have been exposed to intermediate algebra. With me,  you’re going to learn the application of statistical knowledge rather than the theory behind it. By the way, the foundation of the OpenStax text above is Collaborative Statistics, by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, so you know I’ve got good bones.

Each of my chapters has an accompanying set of randomized, auto-graded assessments delivered through MyOpenMath. My text, and my assessment sets, have been combined into a single handsome course shell in Blackboard Learn, making it as easy as pie to take me home with you. One more thing: Unlike those other textbooks (you know the ones I’m talking about), I am fully editable, so you are free to customize me how you like. How’s that for academic freedom?

Topics I cover include:

  • Probability
  • Descriptive Statistics
  • Distributions: Binomial, Geometric, Poisson, Uniform, Exponential, Standard Normal, Chi-Square, F
  • Distribution
  • Central Limit Theorem
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Hypothesis Testing With One and Two Samples
  • Linear Regression
  • Correlation
  • One-Way ANOVA

Interested? Find me on the OER Courses tab in Blackboard Learn and click Bb Preview to request access. I am sure you’ll like what you see. I know you’re students will.  You can also request a department or personal-level version should you wish to take advantage of this added feature.


Join Us In OER Office Hours, daily

Quick reminder: we have daily scheduled OER office hours at Lumen. Some of these sessions (as announced) will be a meet-up for those collaborating on specific course building and planning, and others will be your open forum for discussions of anything you want to explore in OER theory and practice, including any technical help and support you need. Click here for instructions and to […]

Announcing the 2016 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Awards

Congratulations to the 2016 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) grantees listed below.  The applicants responsible for these outstanding and innovative proposals will receive CIF monies to develop, pilot, and assess their projects. The purpose of the annual CIF is to provide colleges with the opportunity to request funding for innovative projects that are aligned with the single goal of the new VCCS strategic plan, Complete 2021: to triple the number of credentials awarded to Virginians by our colleges by the year 2021. Achieving this goal requires us to explore new ideas, develop new approaches, and test and implement successful innovations. The outcomes of these projects are shared with the system, and any resulting deliverables will be openly licensed, allowing them to be adopted and used by other VCCS colleges.

This year faculty and staff from 15 VCCS colleges submitted a total of 26 CIF proposals.  The CIF Review Committee, made up of academic and workforce staff, faced the challenge of selecting the best projects from among many very impressive proposals. Due to a limited amount of funds, many worthy proposals could not be funded.

Again, congratulations to the awardees below. To find out more about these exciting projects, click the View link beside each project title in the table below. To find out more about the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, visit the CIF page at

2016 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Awards

More Info Project Title College Credit Award amount
View Trades Academy LFCC Credit $27,740.00
View Inspired to Succeed: Bridging the College Readiness Gap JTCC Credit $16,200.00
View Access Success: Creating Guided Pathways to Student Success WCC Credit $26,000.00
View Imagine 3D ( Introducing Minorities And Genders Innovations in Engineering?) – Mini STEM learning sessions RCC Non-Credit $16,350.00
View Bringing Developmental Education into the 21st Century; A Project-based STEM Learning Community VWCC Credit $13,193.00
View Virginia Joint Center for Military Credit Evaluation (JC4MCE) TCC Credit $25,708.00
View Cooperative Learning for Distance Learning (CL4DL) PHCC Credit $15,000.00
View Winning New Jobs: Train-the-Trainer PVCC Non-Credit $20,635.00
View Academy for Career Education VHCC Credit $17,800.00
View MyOpenMath (MOM) Training TCC Non-Credit $13,000.00
View Making Electronic Technology and Engineering Courses Accessible to Rural Students RCC Credit $20,571.00
View Personalizing Instruction to Promote Student Success in an Online OER Math Course NVCC Credit $10,314.00
View Universal Design for Learning BRCC Credit $25,100.00

“Affordable Learning at Scale With OER”: Z-degrees in the News

Read about scaling OER, VCCS Z-degrees and TCC’s Linda Williams in Campus Technology. Oh, and Lumen Learning, with David Wiley!   OER in the News

CVCC’s Z-Degree featured in Lynchburg’s News & Advance

Here is another Zx23 Project article from a hometown newspaper–this time The News & Advance, based in Lynchburg, home of Central Virginia Community College. Like today’s R T-D article on JSRCC’s OER project, this one includes multiple perspectives, including interviews with several CVCC students and zx23 Project lead Juville Dario-Becker. Excerpt below:

© Jay Westcott

© Jay Westcott

Out of a half dozen students interviewed for this story, some students had to buy textbooks for most of their courses, but others, like Nicole Ayers, did not. Ayers said she thinks some of her professors are choosing not to assign textbooks because they are concerned about students struggling to pay for them. Realistically, she said, many students chose CVCC because they are financially unstable and CVCC is relatively affordable compared to some other schools. She is enthusiastic about the idea of the new open resource courses and the guarantee ahead of time a class won’t cost an extra arm and a leg.

“I think it will actually encourage people to come to college,” she said. “I think it will encourage people to come specifically to this college.”

You can find the full article here:


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