Middlesex College is the statewide lead for a $1.44 million federal Department of Education Open Educational Resources (OER) grant.
The three-year grant will engage a consortium of New Jersey community colleges and Rowan University to develop open textbooks in career and technical education STEM (science, engineering, technology, math) courses that align to career pathways in New Jersey’s growth industries including health services, technology, energy, and global manufacturing and supply chain management.
OER are digital teaching and learning materials that students can freely use without charge.
“We know that the cost of textbooks can be a barrier for students as they pursue a degree,” Marilyn N. Ochoa, the college’s library director who led the effort in securing the grant, said in a prepared statement. “The grant is intended to help students in vocational and career education programs by reducing the cost of course materials and improve student learning outcomes. In doing so, these students may be able to remain in their selected programs, and continue on their pathway to lucrative careers in STEM growth industries. There will be many opportunities for faculty and other subject experts at Middlesex and in the state to participate in curriculum and content development activities.”
Linda Scherr, vice president for academic affairs, said Ochoa and the college’s Grants Department did a great job in developing the proposal.
“We submitted an incredibly robust, thorough proposal, for which we were recognized as one of only four awarded nationally,” Scherr said in the statement.
The other colleges and universities that received grants were West Hills College Lemoore in California, Louisiana Board of Regents, and The University of Texas at Arlington.