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Open Educational Resources at Ursinus

Ursinus received $22,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation through the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA) to invest in an Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative at Ursinus.

Using funding from the grant, Deborah Barkun (Art & Art History) is building assignments from an existing OER source and Nick Scoville (Math) is creating an open textbook. The grant also led to the creation of an Affordable Learning Working Group at Ursinus. There will be a conference in the Spring to talk with colleagues at colleges across the PCLA consortium. Currently the group is gathering information from faculty and students through two Qualtrics surveys. Ultimately, we’re exploring how OA/OER can potentially play a big part in the Every Student Success strategic plan

One very successful group of Open Educational Resources that Ursinus has hosted in its Digital Commons platform since 2016 are all part of the Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources (TRIUMPHS) project, which is coordinated by Professor Scoville. There are currently 100 projects in the collection which have been downloaded 92,550 times in 187 countries since 2016. Of those downloads, 4,377 are linked to educational, commercial and government institutions. Some projects have been cited on StackExchange Q&A websites and Wikipedia.

The most downloaded project is Mary Flagg’s “Solving a System of Linear Equations Using Ancient Chinese Methods.” This item is consistently amongst the top 5 most popular items in the entire Ursinus Digital Commons repository.

As we celebrate International Open Access Week, we encourage everyone to fill out the surveys or set up a time to have a conversation with us as we work to gather information and determine a way forward that will contribute to every student’s success.

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Diane Skorina
Librarian of the College

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