OEI Releases OER-Enabled Canvas Course Shells

OEI Releases OER-Enabled Canvas Course Shells

California Community Colleges Online Education InitiativeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI) is proud to announce the creation of 30 sample course shells with Open Educational Resources (OER) embedded directly into the OER-enabled Canvas course shells.

This grassroots project involved collaboration between instructional designers, librarians, faculty and OpenStax, a nonprofit educational technology initiative based at Rice University, Houston.

Newly released federal data shows that the number of college students enrolled in at least one online course continues to rise at U.S. institutions. Unfortunately, the Fixing the Broken Textbook Market Survey (2014) shows that 65 percent of students surveyed chose not to buy a textbook for their class due to high costs, and another 48 percent take fewer classes or choose a different class based on the textbook cost.

With this in mind, the OEI workgroup decided it was important to embed OER resources in each course shell.

“Adopting OER is a social justice issue,” said Dr. Barbara Illowsky, Chief Academic Officer for the OEI. “Students need access to their course materials on the first day of the class in order to be successful, not when their next paycheck or financial aid arrives.”

Designed by the OEI’s instructional designers, the course shells include a wealth of knowledge and innovative resources that can help faculty as they prepare to teach online. There are instructions for faculty on making their courses welcoming to students, creating captioned videos, and providing links to campus student services. There are instructions for students on how to navigate Canvas and how to be successful in the course.

“These shells will make using an open text even more convenient for faculty and students, thanks to the work of OpenStax adopters,” said Daniel Williamson, Managing Director of OpenStax. “We’re thrilled to see our books take on a life of their own. This kind of adaptation and enhancement is exactly what makes open educational resources so valuable. We’re looking forward to seeing how instructors take these course shells and adapt them to create materials that are perfect for their students.”

The 30 sample course shells are housed in Canvas Commons, and can be found using the following search terms: CCC, OEI, OpenStax, and OER. There is one blank so faculty can embed their own OER content. Each shell is WCAG 2.0 AA compliant and has a Creative Commons Attribution license with attribution to be given to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, funder of the OEI.


Andrea Hanstein is Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships for
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative

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