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Friday, November 8 • 2:30pm - 2:55pm
A Second Chance for First-Year Students: Using OER to Increase Student Success

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Mercy College prides itself on providing motivated students the opportunity to acquire a quality higher education in preparation for success as lifelong learners in today?s highly competitive knowledge economy. Many Mercy College students are the first in their families to attend college, and many have obligations beyond education involving work, family and military service. In addition, many face socioeconomic, academic preparedness and financial challenges. As such, many Mercy College students rely upon federal financial aid not only for tuition, but for textbook and other expenses as well. Delays in receiving financial aid can mean delays in purchasing textbooks and other required class materials, sometimes well into the semester. As a result, students fall behind in their classes, become discouraged, and drop out before completing their first year.

In search of a solution to the costs and financial pressures weighing upon our students, Mercy College in 2011 joined the Kaleidoscope Project with the support of a Gates Foundation grant. Our goal was to create, provide and integrate Open Education Resources (OER) into the required General Education curriculum, including courses such as Freshman Seminar, a required course that introduces first-semester students to core competencies such as critical reading, critical thinking, and information literacy.

In fall 2012, Mercy College participated in a self-study project sponsored by the John Gardiner Institute examining the first-year experience. This study revealed high failure rates in the so-called ?killer? core classes, first-year general education courses such as English, Math, and Freshman Seminar. In summer 2013, as part of the resultant efforts to increase first-year student success while decreasing the financial burden, Mercy College will pilot a no-cost, two-week intensive ?encore? of Freshman Seminar that will leverage OER content and infrastructure in giving students who have failed the course during the preceding semester a second opportunity to successfully complete it.

Through a combination of face-to-face classroom instruction, intensive one-on-one tutoring and web-based instructional modules focusing on the embedded core competencies, this pilot intensive will experiment with multiple OER-based approaches and content as we explore fresh pedagogical approaches that most effectively address our students? challenges and needs.

Our presentation will present initial findings of this summer pilot program with emphasis upon the effectiveness of the OER models adopted and employed, while offering suggestions and recommendations for both initial implementation and future expansion. Through a combination of ?hard? quantitative and qualitative outcomes assessment findings blended with the ?soft? reflections of students, faculty and tutoring staff, our presentation will offer a first look at a second chance for first-year student success.


Emily Seibert

Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator, Mercy College
I teach and coordinate the Critical Inquiry and Junior Seminar courses at Mercy College. These courses reinforce and assess skills such as critical thinking, reading, writing, speech, and information literacy. I love creating competency-based OER's and incorporating learning modules, digital stories, ePortfolios, and service-learning into curriculum. I also love old television shows, rock concerts, and saving stray cats.

Friday November 8, 2013 2:30pm - 2:55pm
White Pine

Attendees (33)