An Overview

Since 2015, BMCC faculty have been among the leaders at CUNY in adopting and creating open educational resources (OER) for their courses. Learn about the global open education movement, and then learn about some of the OER initiatives that have supported our work here at BMCC.

Why Open Education Matters

Why Open Education Matters from Blink Tower on Vimeo

New York State OER Funds

Since FY 2018, CUNY has been allocated $4 million annually from New York State to establish, sustain, and enhance new and ongoing OER and zero textbook cost (ZTC) initiatives throughout CUNY. The goal is large-scale course redesign throughout the university aimed at replacing commercial textbooks with OER and other no-cost materials available online and through the Library.

An immediate impact of these initiatives is eliminating course material costs for students, when possible, and accelerating their progress through college; according to the CUNY Year Four Report [PDF], for example, as of fall 2021, 743,978 CUNY students had enrolled in ZTC courses and saved tens of millions of dollars. An important secondary impact of these initiatives is changing the culture and creating systems and structures that better connect curriculum and pedagogy with students.

CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs through the Office of Library Services coordinates the distribution of funds and issues RFPs for specific initiatives. Of particular interest are proposals that target high enrollment general education classes or “Z” degrees (entire Zero Textbook Cost degree pathways). See the CUNY Office of Library Services for more information.

Earlier Initiatives at BMCC

Achieving the Dream Grant

In spring 2016, CUNY’s Office of Library Services was selected to participate in the Achieving the Dream OER Degree Initiative. Through this initiative, BMCC, Hostos Community College, and Bronx Community College were among 38 colleges nationwide converting at least one section in all of the courses in a selected degree from commercial course materials to OER. BMCC’s Criminal Justice OER degree was developed through this initiative.

Unlike other BMCC OER programs, which use both OER and other freely available, no-cost materials to achieve zero textbook cost (ZTC), the Achieving the Dream OER Degree Initiative required that all course materials be true OER with Creative Commons licenses. This requirement ensured that other educators in the United States and around the globe will be able to adopt and adapt the courses our faculty created for the program, thus contributing to the scalability and sustainability of OER degrees nationwide.

We are grateful for the commitment and substantial work and time invested by Criminal Justice faculty, as well as faculty across the departments, in creating BMCC’s first OER/ZTC degree.

Gates Foundation Waymaker Study

In AY 2017–18, CUNY’s Office of Library Services received a grant from the Gates Foundation to pilot Waymaker, Lumen Learning’s OER and personalized learning courseware, as part of a larger three-year research study to evaluate the impact of this courseware on student success, persistence, and retention.

BMCC Psychology faculty applied and were selected to participate in the study and used the Waymaker platform and materials in PSY 100: Introduction to Psychology, with five sections running in fall 2017 and five in fall 2018. Monica Foust and Kelly Rodgers were the lead Psychology faculty members for this project.

For more information on personalized or adaptive learning, see the Gates Foundation report produced by SRI, Lessons Learned From Early Implementations of Adaptive Courseware.