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.
Building upon this collaborative infrastructure, my capstone project will attempt to bring much-needed transparency to the issue of material costs by establishing a public website to display current, readily understandable information about the costs of required materials for specific courses offered on our campus. This information has hitherto been difficult or impossible to determine accurately or comprehensively, and—more importantly—far too difficult to track over time. In coming years, university-wide efforts to lower student costs, enhance accessibility, and improve digital literacy will necessitate reliable collection of this data at Penn State campuses across the state. This project anticipates those needs, and aims to provide a scalable framework for similar efforts elsewhere. As such, it will be made openly available online in a template form for anyone wishing to make use of it.