The Chippewa Valley Technical College-led effort that resulted in the recent publication of the first open education resource (OER) Nursing textbook has earned the Best OER Award of Excellence from Open Education Global, a non-profit supporting the development and use of open education around the world.

The electronic version of the textbook, Nursing Pharmacology, became available in June and the print version on Aug. 2. It has already been adopted by CVTC and three other state technical colleges. It is expected to be adopted by the entire WTCS system and by colleges across the country in the coming years. The textbook is the first of five Nursing textbooks to be developed by the project, which is made possible by a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant involving all 16 Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) schools, with CVTC as the lead institution.

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Nursing students from throughout the country will be able to save thousands of dollars on textbooks as a result of the project.

Five developing authors, thirteen contributors, thirty-two national peer reviewers, and an advisory committee collaboratively created the Nursing Pharmacology textbook under the leadership of the CVTC Open RN team. CVTC Nursing Instructor Kim Ernstmeyer was the lead author. In addition to including current, evidence-based content, online learning activities have also been incorporated into the textbook that encourages students to apply content and make clinical judgments typically required during patient care.

Since the book was published, there have been over 8,000 international users of the free e-book and over 300 downloads of the pdf version by over 200 colleges and universities. The textbook has also been uploaded to LibreTexts for easy remixing by faculty, and an affordable print version is available to students in college bookstores and on Amazon.

“The Open RN team is honored to receive the Best OER Award for Excellence,” Ernstmeyer said. “We look forward to impacting even more students and faculty as additional Open RN textbooks are published. Creating high-quality open educational resources takes a village of developing authors, contributors, peer reviewers, and advisory committee members. We are thankful for the support of Open Education Global, the international OER community and all our partners who helped make this project happen.”

In addition, the project includes development of 25 virtual reality scenarios that create a personalized experience for students as they practice the skills and abilities needed as nursing professionals. Four partnering WTCS colleges will purchase equipment and develop virtual reality centers.

“Not only will students see a financial benefit as a result of this project, they will benefit from an educational perspective as well,” said Shelly Olson, CVTC dean of health and emergency services. “This is an innovative and best-practice education, designed and reviewed by faculty throughout the state. It is a real collaborative effort to help strengthen our curriculum.”

The Open RN team also responded to the COVID-19 crisis by uploading over 120 OER nursing simulation videos to the Open RN YouTube channel. These videos were created previously by a separate grant project led by CVTC. Many have already been remixed into new online OER learning activities aligned with the Open RN textbooks.

With the videos available on YouTube, faculty anywhere can remix them into remote learning activities substituted for clinical courses affected by COVID closures. To date, there are 82 Open RN YouTube channel subscribers and almost 18,000 views of the OER simulation videos.

The Open RN team is currently developing two additional textbooks, Nursing Skills and Nursing Fundamentals, that will be published in summer 2021. The final two textbooks, Nursing Mental Health and Nursing Management, are slated for publication in Summer 2022. Information about the Open RN project is located at https://www.cvtc.edu/landing-pages/grants/open-rn.

With over 155 programs offered both online and on-campus, Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the community. CVTC programs are designed with input of business and industry to prepare graduates for today’s jobs, with 95 percent employed within six months of graduation and associate degree graduates earning an average annual salary of $46,816.

Award of Excellence presented by global organization