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KCC Ovations


Open Education Excellence: Kingsborough Faculty Takes Center Stage

Paul Ricciardi and Michelle Turnbull

Open Education Global (OEGlobal) revealed the 2023 Open Education Awards for Excellence (OEAwards) recipients during an OEG Live webcast on September 13, 2023. The winners in the "Open Reuse/Remix/Adaptation" category, a subcategory of the 2023 Open Assets Awards, were Paul Ricciardi, professor of theater arts at Kingsborough Community College, and Michelle Turnbull, formerly of KCC’s Collaborative Programs, for their Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook titled “HUM 1: Modern Humanities — Arts & Ideas 1900–Present Day.”

For many CUNY students, textbooks, which average $1,200 per year, can be prohibitively expensive. One way to reduce textbook costs is by offering courses that use free and online OERs. These instructional materials can be used, reused, and often remixed and customized under an intellectual property license that permits their free use while ensuring authors retain copyright to their work. “OER acknowledges that education is about sharing ideas and resources, and should be open. Everyone deserves access to an amazing education and resources, regardless of their financial status,” said Turnbull.

The open education component for “HUM 1” was created for KCC’s College Now program out of necessity during the pandemic, when the City cut the textbook budget to zero. CUNY’s largest collaborative program with the New York City secondary public school system, College Now offers dual enrollment in high school and college as well as college-readiness programs in more than 400 New York City high schools. Kingsborough is home to one of its largest cohorts, enrolling approximately 4,000 students each semester. Collaborators Turnbull and Ricciardi decided to explore OER as a solution.“The technology initially intimidated me,” confessed Ricciardi. “Fortunately, we didn’t have to go it alone. Shawna Brandle of KCC’s OE@KCC and Ryan McKinney of the Kingsborough Center for Teaching and Learning introduced us to OER, helped find grants to support the research and writing of the curriculum, and pointed us in the right direction.“

“One of the most exciting parts of this project is how collaborative the creation process was,” shared Ricciardi. “Having a team made this process so rewarding. Michelle and I served as project managers and editors. We partnered with a number of dedicated College Now humanities faculty, including Matthew Forman, Monica Walker, Maria Rosario-Rodriguez, Andrew Wilder, Shannon McArdle, Donna Ryan, and Matthew Hoffman, and together we found a collection of extraordinary open resources for our text.”

“HUM 1” aims to familiarize students with the human tradition as expressed in literature, philosophy, and the arts, while introducing them to seminal modern ideas and theories in these fields. Students are encouraged to critically analyze underlying assumptions and perspectives within literature, philosophy, and the arts and develop their critical thinking skills in a global context. Ultimately, the course helps students understand their identities as individuals shaped by participation in a broader community and a more extended history.

“The beauty of our humanities OER is that it can continue to grow and change based on the needs of the faculty and our students. We started compiling content in 2020 and even now I don’t feel it’s complete. I still want to add a chapter about current issues,” noted Turnbull.

“OER is the way of the future for higher education, particularly for public universities,” added Ricciardi. “Introducing OER to our College Now students is another way in which we prepare them for their college education.”

The annual Open Education Awards for Excellence initiative has acknowledged exceptional contributions within the Open Education community, honoring distinguished leaders, remarkable Open Educational Resources, and exemplary Open Practices from around the world since 2011. The awards celebrate the remarkable accomplishments and collective knowledge of the open education community.

A total of 173 nominations for open education excellence were received from 38 countries during this year’s selection process. The projects were evaluated by the 20 OE Awards 2023 committee members and OEGlobal board members.

The 173 nominations were meticulously reviewed and distilled from this extensive pool to a shortlist of finalists. These finalists encompassed 14 individuals and 34 open education initiatives and practices, spanning 16 awards categories.

For more information about Open Education Global and the Open Education Awards for Excellence, please visit The awards ceremony can be viewed on YouTube.