IT News

NERCOMP Presentation by Robert Harris

IRT's Robert Harris, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching with Technology, presented "Open Education Resources as Tool Supporting Retention" at the annual NorthEast Regional Computing Program conference on February 27 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Robert has been working with and advocating for Open Education Resources (OER) for a number of years, and his presentation reflected his activism in this area.  

The presentation was based on the premise that students who can barely afford college face the increased threat posed by spiraling university fees and other ancillary costs, including course materials. Robert discussed the impact of these costs on student retention and described how use of Open Educational Resources can help keep students in classes, and in college. He has been working to solve two potential problems students experience as they try to pay for their educations. Studies suggest that students who cannot purchase texts respond by going through the course without the readings, or by dropping the class. In some cases they drop out of school altogether. 

The presentation discussed how instructional technology professionals can work with faculty to understand and overcome issues around costs and access to expensive course materials. If faculty use Open Educational Resources in their teaching, the potential problems of not reading course materials and/or dropping courses could be alleviated. Robert presented on a teaching with technology curriculum he designed which addresses, among other things, Open Educational Resources as an important factor in increasing student satisfaction, and therefore increasing retention.  

The presentation was well-received, and Robert continues his work and outreach about OER on campus. Please contact him at with any OER-related questions.

April 18, 2018