OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

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Wednesday, October 11 • 11:30am - 11:55am
Beyond the Z-Degree: A New Model for OER in Higher Education

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Thomas Edison State University, a pioneer in adult education, and Saylor Academy, a leader in the Open Education movement, have collaborated on the development of a brand new Associates of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program, which will be both competency based and openly licensed.

Using a framework developed by Thomas Edison, made up of 57 unique competencies, spread over 3 broad knowledge groups, and 16 competency domains, Saylor has been creating open learning modules aligned to each competency. The result of this effort, once paired with learning assessments designed and administered by TESU, will be a first of its kind, openly licensed CBE degree program.

Everything from the competency framework itself, the 57 individual learning modules, assessment rubrics, and the learning resources curated within the modules (to date, approximately 2,800 pieces of OER have been vetted by SMEs for inclusion), will be openly licensed, so that even students not pursuing this degree directly with TESU will be able to benefit from its creation. Likewise, other institutions looking to expand OER adoption, or pursue the offering of a CBE degree themselves, will have the opportunity to use what has been created, in part or in whole, to drastically speed up the time of development and innovation. Further, by providing the competency curriculum openly, TESU hopes to provide a foundation for discussions around unified CBE standards that will not only advance the field pedagogically, but also from a technological and regulatory standpoint.

During the presentation, TESU and Saylor will discuss the design of this unique program, as well as the motivations for investing in the creation of a degree program that not only uses OER to help reduce costs for students, but is itself an OER. The discussion will also focus on the important benefits that a CBE program can have for adult learners, and the ways that OER further help to meet the needs of adult and nontraditional learners.

avatar for Steve Phillips

Steve Phillips

Associate Director, Thomas Edison State University
Steve Phillips serves as an Associate Director for Thomas Edison State University's Center for the Assessment of Learning (CAL). His primary responsibility is to develop programs that position the college as a leader in measuring learning outside of the classroom, or “untethered... Read More →
avatar for Devon Ritter

Devon Ritter

Director of Education, Saylor Academy

Wednesday October 11, 2017 11:30am - 11:55am PDT
Royal A - B 18-20 Lisle St London, WC2H 7BA, United Kingdom