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Open Educational Resources

OTL 605: Educational Planning and Development for Online Programs

Sherry McCarthy's Open Educational Resources Adoption Portrait

Abstract: These open course materials are being utilized in an Online Teaching and Learning course for graduate students by Sherry McCarthy at Cal State East Bay. These resources provide students with a variety of ways to engage with free materials that are available through certain vendor's and our library . The main motivation to adopt free resources is to increase student success. The learning outcomes of the course are not be covered in any one textbook and online teaching and learning is changing so rapidly that anything in print would probably be out of date. Most student access the open these materials through our learning management system, Blackboard Ultra.

COOLforED is a service of the California State University-MERLOT program.
Partial funding provided by the State of California, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundationand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Questions? Email cool4ed@cdl.edu

About the Resources


Description: My motivation was to develop an online masters course where no costs for course resources were needed, so that educators could keep current in their field, enhance their teaching skills, or obtain a higher degree at the lowest cost possible.

Formats: Video lectures via Youtube and Prezi presentations are used in this course as well as webpages, articles and PDFs journal articles. These resources can be downloaded to students personal devices as well.

Supplemental resources: The main sources of my resources are self generated content however, there are various outside resources implemented as well.

Cost savings: This course is zero cost to students and has saved an average of $42 per student.

Accessibility and diversity statement: Accessibility of course materials is very important in order to create an inclusive course. All videos have captioning and all documents and images in the course are fully accessible with the use of the Blackboard Ally tool. 

About the Course


Course Number: OTL 605: Educational Planning and Development for Online Programs

Description:  History of innovation in education and its effect on educational culture and thought. Organizational and managerial issues, problems, decision-making and solutions for successful implementation of online programs. Solutions to unique problems in online teaching environments, such as intensive faculty development and support.

Prerequisites: None however, there is a co-requisite: OTL 606

GE credit: This is a graduate level course

Syllabus available here: Here is a link to the course syllabus. 

Learning outcomes:
1. Examine key current tensions in online program development.

2. Outline and evaluate critical “program success” factors and their implications for program design/

3. Propose solutions to potential barriers in launching an online program.

4. Recommend entry points for stakeholders to the program planning and 

  implementation process based on their roles.  
5. Analyze Learner Accessibility and Usability issues that must be considered as an online program is planned.

Curricular changes:The course objectives stayed the same. I was able to find course materials to support the course objectives.

Teaching and learning impacts:
Collaborate more with other faculty : No, I worked independently when redesigning this course. 


Use wider range of teaching materials: Yes, I wasn't aware of the variety of materials available 


Student learning improved : Yes


Student retention improved : Unsure


Any unexpected results:N/A

Sample assignment: Here is a  sample assignment and rubric. 

OER Adoption

OER Adoption Process

Most of the resources were either developed by me or I found them through resource sites such as Merlot and Educause.  One example of a resource was a book I downloaded for free to use for developing a presentation on leadership skills. After students viewed a Prezi presentation on the books list of leadership skills, the students could go out and download the book themselves and read more on each skill and how he used them at NASA.  

Student access: I downloaded the printed materials to pdf format when appropriate and downloaded the videos so that I could embed the resources in the student assignments; however, there were a few videos that did not have closed captioning but the Online Campus is working on developing transcripts for those videos.

Student Feedback: I haven't gotten any comments specifically about the content being free/affordable, but students seem pleased with the content offered.


Sherry McCarthy

I am an Online Teaching and Learning professor at the Cal State East Bay. I teach Educational Planning and Development for Online Programs.

Teaching Philosophy: As an instructor in an online masters class in online teaching and learning, my philosophy is that I am to be the facilitator and supporting coach who helps the students transition to taking charge of their own learning.  Once I feel that transition is happening, I know I have succeeded.