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Newsroom: Open Textbooks Pilot


LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network (LOUIS) and the Louisiana Board of Regents are pleased to announce their selection for a $2 million award for the Open Textbooks Pilot Program from the Department of Education. Associate Commissioner and Executive Director for LOUIS, Dr. Teri Oaks Gallaway, who will serve as the Principal Investigator for the grant, explained, “This project engages instructors of dual enrollment across Louisiana in the curation and creation of OER for 25 of the state’s general education courses. Annually these courses have enrollments topping 20,000 for high school students and 250,000 statewide. Not only does this reduce the cost of higher education, but it eliminates an early barrier to participation in post-secondary education”.

The grant will fund LOUIS’ Interactive OER for Dual Enrollment project, which supports the extension of access to high-quality post-secondary opportunities to high school students across Louisiana and beyond. This project, funded by Congress in the 2020 Fiscal Year omnibus spending bill, features a collaboration between educational systems in Louisiana, the library community, Pressbooks technology partner, and workforce representatives. It will enable and enhance the delivery of open educational resources (OER) and interactive quiz and assessment elements for priority dual enrollment courses in Louisiana and nationally. Developed OER course materials will be released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification and sharing with others.

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to participate in post-secondary courses for which both college and high school credit may be earned. It can improve college access and degree completion rates by lowering the cost of post-secondary education and accelerating degree attainment, but textbook cost is a barrier to participation. In 2020, Louisiana’s Dual Enrollment Task Force, co-chaired by Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner of Higher Education and Mike Faulk, Executive Director, Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, adopted recommendations that called for access to college coursework in core academic content areas and career/technical fields for all high school students.  Reed explained, “Universal access to dual enrollment will be a game changer in our state. No matter your race or place, offering an early college experience to every student, whether academic or career technical, sends an important message, that you must continue education and training beyond high school and that now is the time to get started on that path.” For this to occur, the development and adoption of OER to reduce textbook and materials costs was identified as a priority by the Task Force.

The Open Textbooks Pilot Program began in 2018 and has been previously awarded to University of California, Davis, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and Arizona State University. In 2020, four awards were made including West Hills Community College District, Middlesex County College, The University of Texas at Arlington, and LOUIS.

See all the awarded projects here.

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The contents of this press release were developed in support of an Open Textbooks Pilot grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.