New River CTC faculty members receive OER grants

Four New River Community and Technical College faculty members received Open Educational Resource (OER) Grants for course development from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Community and Technical College System.

Associate Professor of Psychology Karen Berneburg, Visiting Instructor/RN Program Director Duane Napier, Assistant Professor of English Dianna Putorek and Instructor of History Stacy Reikowsky received the grants for development of courses using OERs. OERs released under open licenses, allow for print or digital access at little or no cost to students.

Berneburg is working with Carnegie Melon to use Open Learning Initiatives as an alternative to traditional textbooks for PSYC 103 General Psychology

“By using OER materials, I will be able to provide relevant materials that aren’t expensive,” explained Berneburg. “The Open Learning Initiatives option will give students more ways to interact with the material as they learn it and give me more options to customize materials to meet student’s needs.”

Napier is looking into content for a medical assistant program course, Diseases of the Human Body.

“My interest in making this course an OER course is to simplify the class to help students put the pieces together step-by-step by adding more interactive assignments and graphics to show how diseases affect the body and how the body compensates when diseases attack it,” said Napier.

Putorek is selecting OERs for ENGL 107 Introduction to Technical Writing and Communication, which focuses on basic communication skills for our Electrical Distribution Engineering Technology (EDET) students.

“Students will have quicker and less expensive access to textbooks and materials with using OER materials than with the traditional single textbook,” said Putorek. She plans to pilot the course during the spring 2021 term.

Reikowsky is offering HIST 105 American History to 1865 using OERs.

“Using OERs for a general education course, like the history classes, can reach a large number of students at any given time. The field of history has only increased in visibility and accessibility in the digital era, and I am excited to tap into the growing network of available resources and share them for the financial and academic benefit of New River CTC’s students,” Reikowsky explained. She plans to expand the use of OERs to other history courses in the future.

All of the OER courses will be offered at New River CTC during the 2021 calendar year.

For information about New River CTC, visit, email or call 866-349-3739.

Registration for spring 2021 classes is underway at New River CTC and will continue through Jan. 15, 2021.