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NOVA recognized for innovation in higher education technology

Award honors College’s commitment to an affordable education

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) has been awarded a 2014 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

The award honors colleges, universities and organizations that are implementing exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to contemporary challenges in higher education. The College received the award for its innovative OER-Based Associate Degree Project, which is a comprehensive approach to addressing access, affordability and student success through the use of open educational resources.

Launched in fall 2013, the project emphasizes the use of open educational resources in NOVA courses instead of traditional textbooks. Roughly 25 courses are part of the project. Open educational resources are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media.

“It is great for NOVA to be recognized by a national organization for the work that we are doing to promote the adoption and use of Open Educational Resources at the college,” said Wm. Preston Davis, director of instructional services at NOVA. “The hard work that ELI faculty and staff have put into creating course options using free digital resources instead of textbooks will help many more students reach their educational goals at a substantially lower cost.”

NOVA is one of five WOW award recipients. The other award winners are Capella University, Colorado Technical University, Excelsior College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“Each year this coveted award is bestowed upon institutions who are creatively applying technological innovations to answer the big questions related to student access and success in higher education,” said Shanna Coles, WOW Award committee chair. “Encompassed in this year’s winners, we have effective models to help students move toward credentials quickly, with the foundation necessary for success while keeping access and affordability at the forefront.”

The WOW awardees will be recognized during the WCET 26th Annual Meeting in Portland, OR November 19-21, 2014.

The need to increase access to and reduce the costs of attending college is a burden shared by all higher education institutions. One way that NOVA has addressed this growing concern is through the use of open educational resources across the curriculum, embedded in a series of online courses offered through NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI).

The OER-Based Associate Degree Project is designed to affect the broadest possible population of students by creating course options in a variety of subjects that will save students money and ensure that all students in these courses have equal access to all materials required to be successful in the course. Students can take one or two OER courses, complete a one-year General Education certificate, or complete two full Associate Degree tracks that make extensive use of digital content and free/open educational resources, and do not require the purchase of textbooks. The OER project saved students over $200,000 in its first semester, and ELI students can save up to $3,500 in textbook costs by following an OER degree option.

Media Contact: Jennifer Gonzalez | 703.425.5839 | jgonzalez@nvcc.edu

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.