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Open Educational Resources Tutorial (OER) + Information Guide

University of Memphis Initiatives

Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) OER Grant

In December 2020, the University of Memphis, along with five other universities from across the state, was awarded the Tennessee Board of Regents' Open Educational Resources (OER) grant. Intent on mitigating the rising costs of textbooks for students in lower division general education courses, a coalition of researchers and faculty from the Departments of English & Math, as well as University Libraries, are identifying key OER repositories for a pilot OER program that will be implemented in the Fall 2021 semester.

UofM OER Proposal

In July 2020, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported a clarion call from students to “Diversify the Curriculum.”  At the same time, scholarship regarding diversifying the curriculum has moved away from suggestions of “tag on” content or “add-on” courses, to reviewing and transforming existing curriculum, essentially broadening the knowledge base for students and instructors alike. As part of the University's reform and change initiative, Eradicating Racism, existing courses and curriculum have been recognized as critically in need of innovation and transformation to align with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice metrics. A diverse campus committee of faculty, staff and students met to deliberate on a University-wide plan to diversify the curriculum and identified four strategic approaches goals: 

Objectives

  • To identify/develop actionable frameworks for diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice
  • To identify/develop critical curriculum review questions and protocols
  • To integrate culture and climate as supports to curriculum content, methods, and teaching and learning
  • To accumulate and disseminate models for curriculum self-assessment, program planning, and continuous improvement

 

An essential component of achieving these powerful educational imperatives is access to resources for faculty and students whereby they can develop their knowledge and skills as a strategy to revise our existing curriculum so that it is culturally responsive, inclusive, socially just and driven by achieving equity.  The curriculum content, textbooks, resource accessibility, instructional approaches, and technology access have been identified as fundamental to curriculum transformation through discussions involving faculty, staff, and students. In addition, the need to reduce costs of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials, to minimize the digital divide and access for our students, and to facilitate innovation in the ways that textbooks and other materials are used will enable us to serve all students.  

ENGL 2201/2202
Providing low or no cost teaching and learning materials and supporting faculty in creating educational support materials will allow us to dismantle inequities for underserved student populations. Additionally, faculty members will have the opportunity to create course texts/materials that will more fully illustrate the University’s rich and ethnically diverse student population and its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity within courses and curricula that will be accessed by most sophomore-level students. The funding will support providing materials to students who, for example, receive PELL funding, to train faculty to assure seamless curriculum innovation, and to diminish any inequities around digital access, retention, and academic progression. The link between diversifying the curriculum and providing open education access seems self-evident but is not lost in our planning. We want to be explicit in setting the conditions for our vision to become reality for students and faculty.

Math 1530 & 1710C

The objective of the Math component of this grant is to develop Open Educational Resources (OER) for MATH 1530 and MATH 1710C, thereby creating  courses which  relieve Pell/URM   students of unaffordable financial burden and give  those who plan on takin STEM courses, a better foundation to meet the challenges of their future calculus courses. Typically, students are advised to take MATH 1710C in order to give them a stronger algebra foundation in preparation for Calculus I or Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, or because of low ACT/SAT score in mathematics.  In general, faculty and students agree that the reason to take Math 1710 is poor skills   in college algebra.

Social Justice

As mentioned above on the OER Grant Proposal, the UofM's OER efforts align with the overall values of the University's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative. Click on the title above or scroll through the webpage embedded below to read about the 12 workgroups that have convened to addressed various facets of DEI on the University of Memphis campus. 


Memphis Reads

The UofM's OER endeavors also align with the mission of Memphis Reads,  a "community partnership between Christian Brothers University, Memphis Public Libraries, Facing History & Ourselves, City of Memphis, Shelby County Schools, Rhodes College, the University of Memphis, LeMoyne-Owen College, National Civil Rights Museum, NOVEL Bookstore, and Whole Child Strategies. Sponsors include International Paper, CBU, Rhodes College, and the Tennessee Arts Commission."

"Memphis Reads was created to give students a common academic experience and to connect them with the campus community, as well as the larger Memphis community. Having first-year students, upperclassmen, and faculty members read the same book provides them with numerous opportunities to discuss it throughout the school year — and by spreading the program city-wide, it provides the same opportunity for students and faculty at other schools and for the general community."

As partner to the program this fall, the University Libraries has purchased an unlimited-use eBook copy of this year's selection, Thick, and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom, for all University students, staff, and faculty to read.