OER-based degrees: Momentum

Posted on July 22nd, 2016

In this blog post, David Wiley, Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning and Education Fellow at Creative Commons, examines the growth and significance of OER-based degrees. Fifteen years ago, MIT started sharing instructional resources through their OpenCourseWare project, which led to hundreds of other institutions sharing resources. In recent years, new OpenCourseWare initiatives have slowed; however, there has been a growth in OER-based degrees—degree programs that use only open access resources. Wiley points to the example of the Z degree offered at Tidewater Community College in Virginia, which cut student cost by 25 percent. Similar to MIT’s project, the Z degree is inspiring the creation of similar programs. Northern Virginia Community College is now offering two OER-based degrees and, in California, the governor is allocating $5 million dollars for the creation of OER-based degrees at community colleges across the state. Wiley notes that the growth of these degrees makes it “quite easy to imagine half of all US community colleges offering an OER-based degree by 2020.”