A bridge to success

Law, Patrina; McAndrew, Patrick; Law, Andrew; Warner, Kathy; Runyon, Jean; Lascu, David; Arundel, Anne and Muramatsu, Brandon (2012). A bridge to success. In: Cambridge 2012: Innovation and Impact – Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education, a joint meeting of OER12 and OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2012, 16-18 Apr 2012, Cambridge, UK.

URL: http://www.ucel.ac.uk/oer12/docs/Conference_Procee...


‘Open Learning: Bridge to Success’, a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) project, is a partnership between The Open University (OU) (UK), Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (USA). The grant has enabled these institutions to capitalise on the success of the OU’s ‘Openings’ content by modifying it for students in the US with the aim of improving retention, learner capability, confidence and motivation through the acquisition of learning skills and core maths (Open University Openings courses, 2012). During a short timeframe (12 months) this has brought about the creation of versatile OER content that has drawn on the expertise of its partner institutions to develop.

The OU’s ‘Openings’ courses have been shown to increase learner capability and confidence, encourage participation, result in student registration on accredited courses and contribute to greater progression and completion. The Bridge to Success (B2S) content aims to allow remediation and practice, accelerate time to completion and open up pathways to skills. Two Openings courses have been adapted for B2S (Starting with Maths and Learning to Change) and enhanced with activities as the courses are presented online (pre-assessment, diagnostic activities, formative assessments) to engage adults in the learning process. Course units have been presented and developed in the OU’s free, standards-based LabSpace website (LabSpace, 2012) which allows all users to contribute to, edit and initiate material. The content is therefore not only available to targeted students in the US, but anyone browsing or searching the OU’s content.

Pilot institutions in the US have adopted B2S content as the recommended route for preparation to college placement. The piloting process is monitoring, supporting and evaluating the impact of materials within the colleges involved. A program offering support material for adoption by colleges and instructors has been established so that those with no formal connection to B2S can utilise the content.

B2S is contributing to the American Graduation Initiative outlined by President Obama in 2009 which aims for all US citizens to obtain at least one year of post-secondary education or career training. The project expects to exceed its own targets and directly engage with over 3000 students and over 100 educators during the grant period.

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