Why OER?

Increasing student Access to Education

Christie Fierro shares with SBCTC on Vimeo. – co-produced by TCC and SBCTC is licensed under CC BY.

Christie Fierro , a faculty member at Tacoma Community College (TCC), teaches public speaking. Her decision to redesign her courses using OER was what she’d call an educational emergency. She was teaching a summer communication class and discovered that only three students in the course had the textbook. In Tacoma, 70% of the people in the area are living in extreme poverty. Fortunately, TCC has a dedicated OER director who was able to help Christie locate the resources needed for her course.

Offering the course with strictly OER materials really altered the class discussion on the first day. Most students land in Christie’s class because it’s required for their major, not because they’re excited about public speaking. By starting her class with a discussion about the choice to use OER rather than expensive textbooks the students could see right away the commitment she has to their success.