Williams earns OER grant to increase student opportunities

May 24, 2021 | General News, Innovation, Liberal Arts, Research

Dr. Joseph Williams, Assistant Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric in Louisiana Tech’s College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded the Interactive Open Educational Resources (OER) for Dual Enrollment Program Grant from the Department of Education and the Louisiana Library Network at the Louisiana Board of Regents (LOUIS) consortium to pursue the creation and development of OERs.

Dr. Joseph WilliamsOERs are courses that both “have the potential to reduce costs and improve outcomes for 250,000 total student enrollments statewide per academic year” and align with the strategic initiatives that the University of Louisiana System (ULS) has pursued under the leadership of ULS President Dr. Jim Henderson, said LOUIS Associate Commissioner Dr. Teri Gallaway.

The LOUIS consortium is in partnership with academic libraries — including Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library — state and private libraries, museums, and archives, and is widely recognized as a model for cost-effective collaboration in higher education. The network works to ensure equitable access to resources, services, and technologies by maximizing purchasing power and sharing expertise.

“Besides relieving the pressure of students purchasing pricy textbooks, OERs assist in open education, curriculum design, curation and evaluation, and authoring,” Williams said. “I plan to apply what I’ve learned from my OER coursework and facilitate open-access materials statewide, specifically related to Business Communication (English 305).”

The results with these interdisciplinary cohort collaborations will ultimately provide unparalleled educational opportunities for those involved with English 305. Williams has been teaching the course for a year and, with the help of his OER cohort — he’ll be assigned a partner and fellow grant winner within the UL System — he plans to “make the class better, stronger, and ‘cooler.’”

“I’d like to develop more community-based action projects,” Williams said. “For example, Tech’s administration asked me to develop an assignment that assisted with marketing strategies for each of Tech’s graduate programs during Winter 2021. It was mutually beneficial, as my students were doing a solid for Tech, and Tech was immediately utilizing my students’ data. Another class analyzed COVID-19 posters targeted for diverse populations in Louisiana, thereby honing my students’ research skills as well as assisting the Louisiana Department of Health.

“Secondly, I’m interested in providing my business students with more real-world situations in which they have to think on their feet and make quick decisions — something that the College of Business appreciates,” he said.

Williams is the only Tech Faculty recipient of this grant, which offers a three-year stipend of $8,000, payable in installments of $2,000 the first and third years, and $4,000 the second year.