Left to right: Amanda Saxman, Joel Berman and Richard Weinsier. Not pictured: Steve Francis
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Congratulations to Amanda Saxman, professor, mathematics; Joel Berman, professor, mathematics; Steve Francis, professor, mathematics; and Richard Weinsier, instructional lab supervisor, whose innovation, A Free Open Educational Resource (OER) Based Intermediate Algebra Course MAT 1033C, has been selected for Valencia College’s Innovation of the Year Award winner.
The creation of the OER Intermediate Algebra course began in fall 2018.
The Openstax textbook and IMathAS platform were chosen as the best free resources for this course creation. Openstax textbook exercises were coded into IMathAS, videos were created and selected to match and the Canvas course layout was built to integrate it all.
The course was piloted with 12 classes in spring 2019, and two more instructors joined the pilot in summer 2019. In fall 2019, many more faculty began using these materials on East Campus, and a course materials committee was called to review the textbook/course material options for Intermediate Algebra. The committee voted to use the OER Intermediate Algebra course created by the team as one of the two main options for East and Winter Park Campuses starting in summer 2020. Now the materials are being shared collegewide for consideration. The course is also slated to be ROC-reviewed in the near future.
The course began as a discussion between math faculty members who wished to provide a no-cost alternative to students taking one of the department’s largest course offerings without compromising quality. The course was created with the intention that would be shared with as many faculty and across as many campuses as possible. The hope was to also provide a template for other disciplines and colleges to use as they consider creating OER course templates. Because of this, the team members responsible for realizing this OER Intermediate Algebra course are constantly responding to the needs of students and faculty, providing training when needed, and adapting and updating the course materials to improve the experience.
No one could have predicted that we would go fully online partway through spring 2020 and not come back for more than a year. But those faculty members who have been using these materials have been complementary and thankful that their students are not experiencing the issues with access codes and delayed textbooks that other colleagues have dealt with.
More and more faculty are interested in OER, in general, and in using the OER Intermediate Algebra course, in particular. The innovative OER course saves Valencia’s students valuable time and money and allows them to start each term with the tools they need to succeed, a challenge that has only grown during COVID-19. The OER course improves Valencia’s ability to serve our students and the community with high quality, no-cost materials.
The Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College highlights outstanding innovations in community college education through its Innovation of the Year competition. The program is designed to recognize faculty, staff and administrators at member colleges who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that improve the institution’s ability to serve students and the community.
Winners, chosen internally by each college, will receive an honorary “Innovation of the Year” certificate from the League and have the opportunity to present their winning innovations at the 2022 Innovations Conference. One winner or winning team will be accepted for each college or district.
Feel free to congratulate the winners below.