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CVTC Hosts Inaugural WTCS OER Symposium

Friday, October 29, 2021

CVTC Hosts Inaugural WTCS OER Symposium

More than 300 people from U.S. and beyond attend virtual conference

Image: CVTC Hosts Inaugural WTCS OER Symposium

When Vince Mussehl was a student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, he was on a shoestring budget.

Like most students, he had to watch every penny. Paying $300 to $400 a semester in books alone wasn’t in the budget.

That meant trying to share with other students or even strategically dropping courses that came with higher cost textbooks.

Now, as CVTC’s director of Library Services, he has a special place in his heart for students like himself. That’s why he’s happy to be the host facility for the first Wisconsin Technical College System Open Education Resources (OER) Symposium, which took place, virtually, on Friday, Oct. 29. More than 300 attendees from throughout the U.S., Canada and China participated.

“The Symposium is instrumental in bringing Wisconsin open education advocates, developers and faculty together and on the same page,” said Vince Mussehl, CVTC’s director of Library Services and Open RN lead librarian. “We want to make sure we are sharing our work with other colleges and industry, avoiding duplication and celebrating our accomplishments. Open educational resources can save students thousands of dollars during their time in college. It also promotes equity and increases student graduation rates.”

CVTC has taken a front seat in OER because in many ways it promotes the students’ success. The goal of the conference is to continue that success, connect faculty with each other from throughout the state and to set a time for college administrators to collaborate on best practices at their institutions, Mussehl said.

“CVTC is leading Wisconsin in the number of OER classes, students using zero-cost textbooks and OER creation with the Open RN Project,” Mussehl said. “We are also on the forefront of cost-savings, with more than $1 million in savings for our students last year alone.”

Technical colleges throughout the state have been collaborating to advance open education through developing and adopting resources, he said.

Kim Ernstmeyer, CVTC’s Open RN project director, said CVTC is at the forefront when it comes to OER.

“As of today, our Open RN textbooks are approaching 1.5 million international page views with more than 430,000 users,” she said. “Last week, we were awarded two new international ‘Best OER awards’ from OE Global.”

Mussehl added CVTC’s Affordable Learning Committee has been instrumental in the forward motion of OER.

“Over the past few years, the group has worked tirelessly to further the open education efforts at the College and community,” he said. “This is another example of an activity that not only directly helps CVTC students, but all Wisconsin students.”

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