Cerritos College with Lumen Learning Higher Education Tech Innovation

Project Kaleidoscope OER Benefits video

In the above video, Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative faculty participants discuss ways OER make life better for their students.

The Innovation: Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative

Textbook costs continue to escalate, creating difficult fiscal choices for students who cannot afford to purchase them. They may attempt to take the course without buying the textbook, impeding their studies and academic success; or bypass the course altogether, and further prolonging their degree completion. Project Kaleidoscope partners conceived another option, creating a comprehensive, general education curriculum with best-of-breed open educational resources (OER).


The Issue: High Textbook Costs


The Impact: Student Success Suffers


The Solution: Kaleidoscope OER


The Results: No Textbook Costs and Improved Outcomes

The Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative reduced textbook costs in the designed courses by 100%, saving students the entire cost of their textbooks. The project resulted in textbook cost savings of an average of $90.61 per student per course and a total savings to students of more than $700,000 by fall 2013.

Savings did not sacrifice academic success. The project demonstrated statistically significantly higher completion rates, passing rates, enrollment intensity, and rates of returning as a full-time student in the next term when faculty assigned open educational resources instead of commercial textbooks. For a number of participating institutions, the project also led to improvements in other student success metrics such as lower withdrawals and a higher proportion of ‘A’ students.

Long term Goal: To create supported open courseware for the top 50 highest enrollment college courses and sustainable adoption to support geometric scale impacting over 200,000 students in five years.

Lumen Learning OER overview
Overview of Lumen Learning
Adopting OER at Tompkins Cortland CC
Tompkins Cortland Community College: Adopting an Open Course
Tidewater CC OER Degree Program
Tidewater Community College: Zero Textbook Cost Degree Program
Faculty Experiences Using OER
Faculty Members' Experiences Adopting OER

The Grant Project: Cerritos College and Lumen Learning received an initial grant in April 2011 and a follow-on grant in November 2012. After initial funding validated the Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative's OER model, the project team used NGLC follow-on funding in the following ways:

  • Develop a cadre of faculty fellows to act as mentors and community leads;
  • Fund pilot experiences for 20 additional institutions;
  • Create 20 new course designs for high enrollment general-education courses;
  • Expand student support in developmental mathematics; and
  • Improve its capacity to facilitate and measure learning.

Based upon the project’s success, Lumen Learning was founded to help many more institutions and students benefit from high quality OER-based courses and the project’s successful, sustainable adoption model. View presentations from Kim Thanos and David Wiley of Lumen Learning on SlideShare.


  • Cayuga Community College
  • Central Community College
  • Cerritos College
  • Chadron State College
  • College of the Redwoods
  • Community Colleges of Spokane
  • Finger Lakes Community College
  • Marshall University
  • Mercy College
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Mohawk Valley Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Onondaga Community College
  • Palo Verde College
  • Peru State College
  • Pittsburg State University
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District
  • Salt Lake Community College
  • Santa Ana College
  • Tacoma Community College
  • Tallahassee Community College
  • Tidewater Community College
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College District
  • University System of Maryland
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Wiley College

Project Leads: