Ruth Abbott, senior library assistant at Lydia M. Olson Library, is one of Northern Michigan University's 2022 Individual Innovation Award recipients for her persistence and passion regarding Open Educational Resources (OER).
OERs are free or low-cost materials such as texts, media and digital assets that are openly licensed. Free or low-cost OERs can have an impact on future and present enrollment, retention and the percentage of students who complete a degree program.
With the cost of textbooks and required resources for classes rising, many students may be unable or unwilling to purchase expensive materials even if it could negatively impact their grades. Abbott recognized that there is no centralized initiative for OERs on our campus and brought the idea forward and expressed a desire to put in the work herself.
“Ruth intimately understands a student's obstacles, from completion of a degree to even a single class," stated her nomination. "She surveyed that a student's obstacles to succeeding in a course are decided before they enter the classroom or Zoom session.”
Abbott's initiative started a conversation that has brought together faculty, students, the Center for Teaching and Learning and library staff.
“Ruth has tirelessly researched success stories around the country and turned herself into an expert. No matter what happens on campus in the future, this movement, this conversation, this momentum started with Ruth.”