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

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Friday, October 13 • 1:00pm - 1:25pm
Unleashing Z Monster: Maybe the Future is Not So Scary

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Representatives from Houston Community College will share their experiences of creating what sometimes feels like an unrealizable task and a monstrous educational disruption, a Z-Degree. Building a Z-Degree might seem like simply a matter of packaging courses, but in reality, it requires design, intention, and cultivation. After years of piecemeal attempts to adopt and promote OER, our institution achieved focus with a directive to construct a Z-Degree, which came from multiple stakeholders, including students, trustee members, senior administration, and faculty champions. This united commitment allowed us to secure external and internal funding sources, clarify policies and procedures, and ultimately place OER on a solid foundation for the future. We will share our process for revising and adopting an OER policy guide, identifying and recruiting faculty, and engaging with multiple stakeholders within the institution (Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, libraries, CTLE, and students). These stakeholders each see value in different elements of the project. The trustees recognize the public-relations benefits of lower costs. Students have demanded that we address their financial burden, and faculty have discovered enhanced academic freedom. HCC has partnered with Lumen Learning to provide initial training and course hosting, and we are working with our Institute for Instructional Engagement & Development to create a sustainable infrastructure to build our capacity of OER course offerings. It has been necessary to make compromises to bring critical programs on board, but the ultimate goal is to build a complete degree plan and develop OERs for the future. Finally, HCC is establishing a program for data collection and analysis in order to understand the effects of the initiative on key factors. The Z-Degree has unified our efforts, but the lasting benefits will be a sustained and growing model of support for OER within the institution.


Aaron Knight

Dean, Houston Community College

Stephen Levey

Associate Vice Chancellor, Instructional Services, Houston Community College

Nathan Smith

OER Coordinator, Houston Community College
avatar for Amy Tan

Amy Tan

Dean, Houston Community College

Friday October 13, 2017 1:00pm - 1:25pm PDT
Royal C - F