Corey Wetherington is the first Open and Affordable Course Content Coordinator for The Pennsylvania State University. He works primarily with faculty and staff at the Berks College and in collaboration with Penn State colleagues statewide to facilitate the adoption of open educational resources and other affordable alternatives to traditional course materials. In addition to his advocacy at Penn State, he has served as a consultant to the Association of College & Research Libraries on a national initiative in OER evaluation and discovery, and is currently co-developing an innovative open source software tool for academic libraries. Through the SPARC Leadership Program, he hopes to benefit from the experience and successes of a larger community of practice to become a more effective proponent of open educational initiatives.
As part of the preparatory work for my Spring 2019 capstone project, I formed an Affordable Course Content Coalition to work across various constituencies at Penn State Berks in order to foster and strengthen collaboration on open education and course affordability initiatives. Representatives are drawn from major faculty divisions, student government, the campus bookstore, University Libraries, faculty senate, student affairs, and the Center for Learning and Teaching. This coalition has already begun to enact meaningful change in establishing more equitable, accessible, and affordable course content on campus.
My capstone project entailed the collection and publication, for the first time, of comprehensive data on the cost of required course materials at the Penn State Berks campus. Data sets for the Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019 semesters were compiled from online publications of the Office of the Registrar and the Penn State Berks Official Bookstore, verified for completeness and accuracy with course instructors, and published to the web using data visualizations designed to be succinct, readily understandable to a general audience, and useful to a range of constituencies. The site was further designed to be continuously updated on a semesterly basis so as to provide a means of tracking the results of campus affordability initiatives across time. In conjunction with a written guide, a set of freely-available template files was created to allow others to replicate the essential features of the project at other institutions. Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian at Iowa State University, served as a mentor and provided invaluable input and oversight.