You’ve heard of Open Educational Resources (OER), which are free, openly licensed, publicly accessible educational materials and resources that anyone can use. Some licenses also allow anyone to remix, adapt, and redistribute these materials. You know OER can include:

  • Full Courses
  • Textbooks
  • Course modules
  • Lectures
  • Homework assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Lab and classroom activities
  • Teaching materials
  • Games and simulations

And you’ve heard of the Maricopa Millions Project, which has saved Maricopa Community Colleges students millions of dollars using OER to provide instant, permanent access to learning resources by offering courses designated in the Student Information System (SIS) as “no cost” (no additional cost beyond tuition and fees) or “low cost” (required course materials are under $40).

But have you heard of MOD Press?

Some of our wonderful GCC faculty are using the Maricopa Open Digital Press (MOD Press) to host their own OER. For example, take a look at the digital textbook Culture and Psychology: How people Shape and
Are Shaped by Culture
, a psychology textbook by L D Worthy, Trisha Lavigne, and Fernando Romero.

MOD Press is Maricopa Community Colleges’ instance of Pressbooks, an online tool for creating quality OER digital textbooks which can be exported to multiple formats including portable document format (PDF) for print, Digital PDF, MOBI for Kindle, and EPUB. Our students can choose the format that works best for them and download it at no charge.

Faculty can use MOD Press to search for existing OER, organize content, and assemble a customized textbook. They can write their own OER materials and offer it for others to use. And they can collaborate with others to share the workload and create materials that can be used at any of our campuses.

In addition to creating and remixing digital texts, MOD Press allows faculty to use the H5P plug-in to include interactive content within a resource. Examples of practice activities you can include are:

  • Create context for images by adding clickable hotspots
  • Interactive timelines
  • Practice quizzes (fill in the blank, multiple choice, etc.)
  • Flashcards and games
  • Videos enriched with quizzes, text, and more

As the CTLE’s Instructional Developer, I love to make engaging things! I’m excited to announce that I’m serving as GCC’s network manager for MOD Press. I am available to help GCC faculty get started using MOD Press, and I can provide support as you begin looking for existing content or creating new content.

I’m bringing this up now because the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLI) and Maricopa Millions recently announced a grant opportunity for faculty to develop and add an OER resource into MOD Press. Grant proposals are due by midnight, January 20, 2021, so now is the time to start planning your proposal! Check out the MOD Press Development Grant Call for Proposals for more information. And watch the MCLI events calendar for some upcoming workshops on using MOD Press.

I know during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all learned a ton of new software and skills in order to keep teaching. Some of that has been fun, and some has been challenging. I don’t know anyone who isn’t feeling a bit weary, especially when we need to learn yet another new technology thing. But don’t let that stop you from applying for a grant. The great news is, MOD Press is fun because it’s a chance to do something creative and build the textbook of your dreams, exactly the way you want it to be. You can continue to refine it after it’s published, making tweaks based on how it’s working for your students. You can add in engaging games and study aids as you have the time. And you can even let your students help you write a section of the book, or develop study materials, involving them as scholars who make a meaningful contribution to academic materials for future students to use.

Let’s get together and create a great learning experience for your course!

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