COVID-19 and Higher Ed: Biweekly Update
Updates from New England Institutions
Check out NEBHE's COVID-19 updated dashboard for complete data
HEIs' plans for fall curriculum delivery*
  • Fully Online Delivery: 35
  • Fully On-Campus Delivery: 65
  • Dual Delivery: 98 (11 have switched to a hybrid model since last week)
*N.B.: Many of the above listed plans for the fall remain tentative and will be updated as new information is released.

Number of HEIs that have included protocol for the following features as part of their fall reopening plans:
  • Testing: 118
  • Contact tracing: 72
  • Active monitoring: 80
  • Quarantine procedures: 73
  • Employee protocol: 62
  • Athletics: 34
  • Infrastructure adjustments: 109
  • Scheduling changes: 82
  • Phased return: 46
  • Liability protection: 45

Housing Protocol for Residential Campuses:
  • Regular Housing Options Available: 64
  • Reduced Housing for a Limited Number of Students: 44
  • No Housing Available: 4
Resource Spotlight

Leveraging Open Educational Resources (OER) during COVID-19.

Among many variables associated with the chaos and stress of the pandemic, a lack of direct access to learning materials like textbooks has arisen as one of the major roadblocks to student learning in the era of COVID-19.

Open Educational Resources (“OER”) are completely free-to-use teaching and learning resources that are in the public domain or have an open license granting users various permissions to use, share and adapt.
How Can OER Help Students During COVID-19?
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1) Health and Safety. Research suggests that COVID-19 can live on different surfaces for up to 3 days posing significant health risk to students who don't have, or can't afford to purchase, textbooks. OER support students, particularly those who depend on traditional campus services such as the library, or share physical resources with their classmates, and grant them access to their required learning materials.
2) Economic Impact. With unemployment at a historic high, students and families may be caught off guard by out-of-pocket costs associated with textbooks, access codes, etc. OER provides an answer and significant ROI. Money saved could also contribute to other valuable educational experiences.

3) Further Learning. With OER, students retain access to the material - a tremendous benefit should students need to withdraw or take leave of absence.
4) Updating Content to be Relevant. Licensing structures permit students and faculty to revise and remix content, integrating timely research and current events into coursework without wasting the paper to print new textbooks, or requiring students to buy new versions every year.
Check out the links below to consider how your institution might leverage OER to benefit your campus community during COVID-19:

  • Mythbust the misconceptions about OER Differentiate between myths and facts surrounding OER. Featured here are all the ways that OER helps, not hurts, students and institutions alike.

  • WATCH our webinar NEBHE's Open Education Fellow Lindsey Gumb explains how OER can help students and faculty navigate the challenges and burdens imposed by traditional learning resources and increase student success metrics like GPA and lowers DFW rates, particularly for Pell-eligible and non-white students.

Interested in Learning More? Read some of our work around OER!

  • OER and a Call for Equity - Robin DeRosa, Plymouth State University. While pre-COVID surveys tell us, for example, that almost half of American college students experienced food insecurity in the month prior to being surveyed, COVID thrust many of these students from chronic precarity to immediate emergency. As work-study jobs closed, and local businesses that employed students shut down, meager incomes shriveled and affording food, housing, car payments internet and phone service and healthcare became impossible for many. READ more

  • What's "Open" During COVID-19? - Lindsey Gumb, NEBHE Textbook prices are only part of the access barrier issue. As teaching and learning shift fully online during the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have been forced to more closely consider and analyze how copyright restrictions set by publishers may limit their students’ access to these essential learning materials. READ more
For more, visit NEBHE's COVID-19 Resource Page
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