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OER: Bridge to Success Project To Provide Open Access to Math Fundamentals Education

Open Learning: Bridge to Success (B2S), a project that provides free and open educational resources, has been awarded $750,000 to help students who are struggling with mathematics so they can go on to complete their education.

The project will help students prepare for college-level work in mathematics by offering "bridging" content in fundamentals of arithmetic, pre-algebra, and learning skills. According to the Open University UK (OU), more than 250,000 students in the United States are required to take at least one developmental mathematics course, but only 16 percent complete it, and only 10 percent of those students go on to pass a college-level mathematics course. B2S has found that applying this bridging approach to education increases student skills, confidence, and participation and leads to greater rates of college completion.

B2S "is designed to provide a safety net to help students get up to speed with their learning and successfully complete their studies instead of dropping out," said Denise Kirkpatrick, OU pro vice-chancellor, in a prepared statement.

The funding is provided through the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) program, an initiative to improve college readiness and completion in the United States through educational innovation and technology. Additional resources will be provided by Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and the Global Corporate College (GCC), along with distance education experience and leadership from OU and expertise from MIT's Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT).

"Getting students ready for college and ensuring they complete their course is a really big challenge in the [United States]," said Kirkpatrick. "Our project will provide open access to high-quality education materials in order to increase the number of adults who are not only prepared to enroll in U.S. colleges but who also go on to pursue a degree or professional qualification."

The project will take place in phases. It will identify and release existing mathematics education materials, refine and enhance those materials, and develop new content. Approximately 750 students at 10 colleges in the United States are taking part in a pilot project until June 2012. An open solution will be made freely available to everyone and is expected to reach 30,000 users globally in the next year.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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