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Open Educational Resources at RTC: OER Heroes

OER Heroes at RTC

Zak Rubin, Bachelors of Computer Network Architecture

OER project final results:

1. Canvas course , this canvas course includes video recordings and screen shares with closed captions and ASL interpreters.

2., After students read the book "Think Like a Computer Scientist", they do their work here. The reason for this is so that students can use Pycharm IDE which is a real software engineering tool.


1. The selected resources for the OER edition of this class are not only freely available and open-source, they come with excellent documentation and an active community.

2. The survey conducted at the end of the course showed students overwhelmingly prefer OERs. 100% of students said they would like to stick with free and open source resources for the remainder of the program. Nearly all students felt that educational quality was as good as when they used paid resources.

Nizar Ali, Basic Studies - ELA

Bitmoji cartoon of instructor Nizar Ali swinging from a chandelier and smiling, with the word "ESL" belowOER title/content used: College Skills - Intermediate English


1. The instructor made some changes in the way of delivering the course materials and adding some of his own touches to make it even more engaging and interesting to the students.

2. The instructor used the same common creative license used by the author in the original OER to share the resources he designed with other educators.



Alma Meza, College and Career Pathways

Bitmoji cartoon of instructor Alma Meza sitting with a book on top of a green check mark. OER title/content will be created:

A textbook that helps students to understand how to do research, the veracity of the sources, how to cite, how to complete a bibliography, what a glossary is and how to create it, etc.

All of the high school equivalency classes are contextualized and this textbook includes learning objectives in the areas of Social Science, Math, the use of technology, and Reading and Writing.




Beatrice Favre and Heather Inge, Early Childhood Education

                    Beatrice Favre                                          Heather Inge

OER project final result: Redesign two 5-credit courses (Beatrice), and a 2-credit course (Heather)

Challenge (Beatrice):

1. Using OER materials is different from using learning materials by following the copyright laws. It’s difficult to differentiate the two concepts.

2. To balance between requirements based on the OER grant and providing learning resources that directly align with the learning outcomes.


1. Students had everything they needed to get started and learn. This helped instructor to focus on the important topics that should be shared at the beginning of the quarter.

2. Students appreciated the variety of relevant and attractive learning materials in different format and media, and were able to conduct their own research on the topics they chose.

Rick Geist, Welding and Jawahir Ali, College and Career Pathways


We completed a Canvas master where we continued to edit and add to it before, during and after teaching a hybrid blueprinting class winter 2021. In the master class we included pictures and drawings created by students from assignments and welding projects. Below are the textbooks we created:


At first, we printed the textbook for students but eventually we asked students to start to work exclusively online. We trained students to submit their assignments on canvas and complete quizzes online. Students also had a lot of hands-on projects in the welding lab so they can use what they learned from the textbooks and class lectures.


Melvin Hortman, Engineering Technologies

OER created: Introduction to SolidWorks - Simple Book Publishing


This book is designed to introduce the SolidWorks software as well as provide tutorials for modeling parts, assemblies, and completing drawings from the mechanical designer’s perspective. It is also designed to prepare students for earning the SolidWorks Associate Certificate. 


1. Students found little problem comprehending the text compared to more traditional texts on the subject but asked for more real-world engagement with the topics discussed in the OER.

2. The text would be out of date within five years due to the everchanging nature of the topic. The author/instructor likes to share this resources with other SBCTC instructors, and welcome adapting/editing if needed in the future.  

Math Faculty Eunice GrahamEunice Graham, Math
OER created: Culinary Math Canvas course and Pressbook


Developing my own OER was extremely empowering, as it gave me a sense of agency of what I taught and how I taught it. It also worked very well for the students, not only in saving them textbook fees, but also in giving them a course laid out for their specific needs.


The main challenge to developing my own OER course was the time commitment involved. However, I feel that I more than recouped the time by not having to revise and replan materials that didn't serve student needs well.


Naser Chowdhury, Computer Science

OER created: Software Application Development slides and videos


➢ Adoption of OER requires new skill sets.

➢ Traditional Resources preference: Many of the students still like to have a textbook to read and follow.

➢ Understanding Open Licenses: It is very important to understand and have deep knowledge of re-creating or using other people's work while developing OER resources for the students.


● Enabling success in student learning.

● Free cost of resources and learning materials to students.

● Quick circulation and dissemination of information around the world so that students can learn.


➔ Reaching out to the mentors if any help is needed.

➔ Starting with a single course and developing on top of it.

➔ Let the mentors know if more time needed to complete the project.


Connie Tran, College and Career Pathways

OER created: ELA Transitions to College course


I worked over the last year to develop the ideas, outcomes, modules, and resources for this class. Part way through the process I decided to apply for the OER grant and make this course available to all instructors. My hope is that other instructors can benefit from the structure and resources included here to help more ELA students attain their college goals.


This course has already impacted the many students who have taken it. I hope that it will continue to grow and become a staple of the ELA student transition process. Now that the course is finished, I can devote more of my time to the one-on-one work of helping my students reach their goals. I have already heard positive feedback from students, including one student who said that the information from the OER textbook in my course 'College Success' would help her succeed in academic learning. Specifically, the section on 'studying to learn' gave her strategies that she can use to be successful in college.


Overall, I would say that this has been a good, but also stressful experience. Designing a course with the needs of my students in mind is something that I have done for many years. What makes this process different is the competing goal of keeping the OER aspect in mind and the knowledge that I am also creating a course for future instructors. 


Dawn Allen, College and Career PathwaysDawn Allen, College and Career Pathways Instructor

Resource created: OER Support Resources for ELA Readers


I wanted to create OER resources to help fill the gap in OER for ELA. While there are a lot of piecemeal materials out these, I wanted to create a comprehensive system, from pre-assessment, to activities, and post-assessments to accompany class sets of ELA readers we have in the RTC library. The goal was to create a resource teachers could easily import into Canvas and with minimal work and customize the activities to their classrooms and the specific readers they are using with their students, giving them more time to focus on teaching their classes.


· How to create resources that would work for all instructors, regardless of what readers they were using? 

· How to organize content?

· How to create content that was easily portable from one Canvas shell to another? 

· How to incorporate all my big ideas into a Canvas shell in the time allowed for the project? 

Student Feedback

"Yes, I was able to understand the context of each chapter, learn new words and meanings as well as have a proper rhythm when reading."

"Yes, the reader and the Canvas activities about the reader helped my skills improve very much such as listening, speaking, reading and writing."

"Definitely I feel more confident now I can read more and understand more words and gramma rules."


Raquel Andre, College and Career Pathways InstructorRaquel Andre, College and Career Pathways

Resource created: RTC Programs & Resources for CCP Staff and Students


  • Creating the videos without having proper technology and equipment.
  • The author paid for upgraded subscriptions for the editing software and YouTube account for better quality. 
  • Captioning the material in the main languages of CCP students is the biggest challenge. 
  • Balancing the hours spent executing the project and teaching activities 


  • Students are learning about the programs in a short video that will help them make informed decisions. 

  • Instructors and staff are speaking directly to CCP students using language and vocabulary easy to understand even if students are at lower levels. 
  • The videos cover the main aspects of the programs, challenges, and tips on how to succeed.
  • This material is good support for CCP faculty to learn more about programs and resources and share that information with their students. 
  • These videos can be used to promote our programs outside the college.
  • This initiative aligns with Guided Pathways' mission. 

Student Feedback
“The videos are easy to understand and give us an overview of the programs. Most of the time we are afraid that we will not succeed because it’s going to be easy to communicate.”

“The videos helped me to know how to be better prepared to start a program.”


  • It was great to visit the programs, observe the classes and learn more about them. This project also helped me to strengthen relationships with my colleagues. 

  • CCP students need this kind of material and I will keep working on this project even without the grant because learning more about RTC programs and resources is crucial so CCP can better support its students and help them transition and succeed in their journey. 

Cindy Xie, Biology instructorCindy Xie, General Biology, General Education and Transfer
OER Textbook Used: Concepts of Biology (OpenStax)

Impacts on the class

1. This book has great content and provides sufficient biology knowledge for students’ learning.

2. This OER book saves students’ money, especially for students who cannot afford the textbook.

3. The content of the book includes different chapters, sections and page lists. It assists students as a reference and a tool to understand the biology subjects, summarize the important points and help students to prepare for the unit exams.

4. This book contents are straight forward and well organized; it is mobile and helps students with taking notes and easily access.

1. It was a great free open resource for students, and it saves students’ textbook cost financially.

2. This book has a wide range of information that is needed in Biology.

3. This book definitely impacted students’ studies in many ways. It helps students prepare the information for the exam. Helps students understand topics better and goes into details and gives examples for a better understanding. Students would like to continue using this in the future because it is very convenient. It definitely did save money by using this book, and student are grateful for that.

Student feedback
1. It is nice to have free textbooks, being able to study on my own and how I want. It is also nice having it right here on my computer to help with my study. It is free learning and easy accessibility. Absolutely saved money by using it!

2. I feel really good about this book contest. It is organized, and nice to have more information to help me myself prepare for the exam. It was free, and I will recommend this book to other students. I like that I can use it on my computer so I can translate information easily.

1. It was great information delivered through the book. It may take time to flipping all the pages online to read the contents searched~ adding hyperlink function will be great in the future.

2. It could add more pictures to provide the additional examples and video support link.

3. Authors and editors spend a long time to create, edit and proofread the information and need balance the time spent on OER project and teaching preparation.


Will Cram, Computer Science
OER Developed: CSI 120 Course

Computer Science is a dense subject and programming 1, is the foundation of all of them, even more so. It took considerable time.

Not as edited as I would prefer. This is personal; I might move on after spending so much time writing about a subject. Later to find out something was misspelled or needed tweaking. It's easier with at least a second set of eyes assisting.

It can take a lot of work, but allow a curated experience that narrows focus or lets us provide resources that may not be readily available. I tend to approach programming from a different mindset than others and most materials are not built for one like me. Here I can provide my perspective, while also sharing resources with others. Merging the two worlds.

I've seen both through Canvas analytics and student feedback that my resources are utilized. I get positive feedback, and also suggestions on how I can improve. This is great as it allows me to keep improving my material to have the greatest impact.


Aaron Barquet, College and Career Pathways instructorAaron Barquet, College and Career Pathways

OER Developed: Multilevel ELA Foundations


I wanted to explore and discover what OERs were there that I could use to teach in my Multilevel classes. After a few bumps on the road, I finally found something that I could actually use during my lessons.


The OERs that I used allowed my students to study and practice some specific grammar tenses. In this specific case, we were studying Nouns, pronouns, simple present and present progressive. The student's didn't have to purchase anything, nor the school had to photocopy any materials.


Overall, I went through a few challenges. For starters my ignorance about OERs. It was not as simple as I thought to find them and curate them. I spent way too many hours surfing the universe of OERs until I finally came across something that could be used in a multilevel class. See, the issue for me was that all the OERs were old word, or pdf documents that were designed for specific types of ESL courses that focus on one level. So, for my class I needed something that didn't focus on levels, but on content. All my failures generated a lot of frustration to the point where I was about to throw the towel, but then after a great conversation in the OER committee, I learnt that I didn't need to find one OER to use in my whole class, but I could use any oers for specific lessons, and that's how I finally succeeded in this project.

My students really liked the materials.


Math faculty Alan RothAlan Roth, Math

OER created: Math 146 (Statistics) Course and Pressbook


When planning for a large project, flexibility is key. Adhering to the intended outcomes should always be secondary to producing the best possible product. Technology is wonderful, but only if it serves the intended purpose. More tech is not necessarily better. Some of the H5P interactives adapt easily to many uses, some are very usage specific or very limited in what they can do. I’m hoping that these interactives will evolve. Lightboard technology allows the presenter to face the viewer while writing or drawing, and this is good for communication.


I discovered a nice AI that does image captioning, but only after I did all the captioning manually. Ensuring that the design and pedagogy was clear and accessible was the biggest challenge. Learning the layout and functionality of PressBook and H5P was not too difficult, but consumed some time. Due to unforeseen events, I didn’t have all the time that I might have, but this is almost always the case with any project.


The encouragement and support of those supervising and assisting me throughout this grant made the experience both successful and fulfilling. Thanks to Di Zhang, Christie Fierro, Nizar Ali, Yun Moh, and the OER community at large.