OhioLink Higher Education Tech Innovation

The Innovation: Scaffold to the Stars

Scaffold to the Stars’s peer-evaluated OER database helps instructors redesign courses.

The plethora of existing course resources can overwhelm the instructor who wishes to create or redesign a math or statistics course. Scaffold to the Stars makes the review and selection processes easier. It is a database of more than 400 open education resources (OER) that are indexed to specific math and statistics course learning outcomes, evaluated by educational peers, and reviewed with a star rating system.


  • Its scaffold approach guides students’ progress up a subject ladder by providing concept-based and applied learning materials. For example, math resources start with developmental math and ladder up to calculus.
  • Instructors can select and reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the OER into modular course packs suited to diverse student populations.
  • The OER provide an affordable alternative to commercially available textbooks and educational resources. They are available to students for free in digital form and at a very low cost in print.

Results Achieved: Scaffold to the Stars provides affordable course material without sacrificing academic quality. During the project, 73 sections of 48 unique classes of over 1,400 students used Scaffold to the Star’s OER, resulting in aggregated student savings of over $100,000. In a majority of cases, the project team found no statistically significant differences in course completion, grade performance, and retention between students who used the OER and those who used commercially available materials.

Long term Goal: To encourage faculty use of OER collections and to introduce more students to OER’s benefits, cost savings, and flexibility.


Introducing Ohio Scaffold to the Stars Enhanced Content eBooks
College Algebra, Precalculus, and Trigonometry open textbook
Presentation on accessible OER

The Grant Project:

OhioLink received a Building Blocks for College Completion program grant in April 2011.

The NGLC grant enabled the Scaffold to the Stars project team to build a database of over 460 peer-reviewed OER math and statistics resources, and it funded resources for faculty—including an online librarian—to assist with OER selection.

The Scaffold to the Stars project team continues to support OER’s affordability, learning styles, and effective teaching practices by remaining active in higher education activities and sharing project lessons. After the grant program ended, the Scaffold to the Stars project team donated their OER resource database to the iLearnOhio repository and offered it to Ohio’s eTutoring program.


  • Edison Community College
  • Lakeland Community College
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Southern State Community College
  • Belmont Community College
  • Columbus State Community College

Principal Investigators:

  • Gwen Evans, Executive Director, OhioLINK
  • John Magill, former Executive Director, OhioLINK
  • Stephen R. Acker, former Research Director, Ohio Digital Bookshelf