Missouri’s community colleges lead the nation in an initiative to improve access to free and open curriculum resources for higher education
Of the 5,000 materials available on SkillsCommons.org, a federally sponsored repository of free educational materials, resources from Missouri’s MoHealthWINs program have received the highest number of downloads to date.
MoHealthWINs was a series of grant-funded programs that helped more than 4,100 Missourians train for jobs in the health care industry. Each of Missouri’s 12 community colleges and the state’s technical college participated in the initiative, creating or redesigning nearly 60 training programs in the process.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program funded both MoHealthWINs and the creation of Skills Commons. In order to encourage innovation and make curriculum more affordable, TAACCCT grant programs are required to license any curriculum or materials that are created or modified using grant funds with a Creative Commons license and upload them to Skills Commons. Once uploaded, materials can be found, reused, revised, retained, redistributed and remixed by anyone.
According to the Department of Labor, available materials have been downloaded from Skills Commons more than 70,000 times to date, with 11,000 downloads occurring in February 2016 alone. This represented a nearly 20 percent increase over the previous month. Materials from the MoHealthWINs program were the most popular, with 6,586 total downloads.
“The fact that our materials received the highest number of downloads shows a thirst for affordable curriculum design in the health care field,” Dawn Busick, director of the MoWINs program said. “We’re proud of our colleges and glad we could do our part to support Skills Commons and the open education movement.”
The MoHealthWINs grant closed in 2015, but two similar programs are currently under way. MoManufacturingWINs and MoSTEMWINs are both funded through subsequent rounds of the TAACCCT program and will continue to contribute to Skills Commons.
For more information about MoWINs or the TAACCT grant program, visit www.mowins.org.