Published: Feb. 22, 2018

Diana Maggiore has received the first CU Boulder Open Educator Award from the CU Student Government and the University Libraries. This award recognizes Maggiore’s innovative use of the MyOpenMath platform, an open educational resource (OER). She used this OER in her MATH 1005 and MATH 1011 course instruction to reduce students’ course materials costs and to enhance their engagement and learning.

MyOpenMath features several flexible and customizable courses in algebra, precalculus, college algebra, calculus, math for liberal arts, and introductory statistics. Maggiore used MyOpenMath to build her course, replace her former use of a commercial textbook (about $200, when purchased new) and to create and evaluate homework assignments. The individual who nominated Maggiore for the Open Educator Award stated that her adoption of MyOpenMath “has reduced costs for students, helped her connect with her students on a more personal level, and given her the opportunity to incorporate better resources in her teaching practices.”

Maggiore agrees that making the switch to MyOpenMath for course content and homework was beneficial to both the teacher and student experiences. She was aware that some of her students struggled to afford a commercial textbook and would choose not to buy the textbook, or to forfeit ten percent of their grade by not purchasing access to the accompanying online platform required for this work. Maggiore said her new students were “ecstatic” when she told them that that they would not need to purchase course resources. Although she admits to being initially apprehensive about using a fully online platform, she transitioned gradually over two semesters and said, “it was a much better experience than I expected. I really loved it because of the variety of sources and the flexibility.” 

The online course-books for MyOpenMath are written collectively by professors around the world. The platform also features video tutorials, homework, a built-in gradebook, discussion threads, and chat capabilities. Importantly, students can access the course materials indefinitely. The Student Academic Success Center (SASC), where Maggiore and others pioneered these OER materials, is pleased with the impact of these resources and they continue to use them in other math courses. Maggiore pointed out that it was a group effort to bring OER capabilities to SASC, and mentioned the work of Rebecca Machen, Everett Piper, and Chris Aquinto.

Maggiore found that MyOpenMath changed the way she teaches and the way that students learn both in and beyond the classroom. For example, prior to using MyOpenMath, Maggiore observed that students would search online for videos to help explain course concepts. With MyOpenMath, Maggiore was able to proactively pair problems and videos for students. Due to the flexible customization features, Maggiore was also able to piece together content she deemed relevant, add new content or problems, and eliminate irrelevant portions in a manner not possible with traditional textbook offerings.   

By adopting MyOpenMath, Maggiore demonstrated her commitment to helping students, improving learning, and remaining dedicated to thoughtful teaching practices. As a result, her students benefited from financial savings as well as enhanced learning conditions. In Maggiore’s words: “The little bits that you can help students out - students really, really appreciate that.”

Last fall CU Boulder Student Government and the University Libraries united to sponsor an award that would recognize campus educators who demonstrate exemplary use of open educational resources in their classrooms or teaching practice. Through this award, the CU Boulder Student Government and University Libraries express their appreciation and congratulations to open educator, Diana Maggiore.

The University Libraries Open Educational Resources guide provides resources for educators who are interested in exploring and identifying OER. The guide includes contact information for the Libraries’ OER Leads, Caroline Sinkinson, Melissa Hart Cantrell, and Merinda McLure, who are available to provide assistance.