Grace College has reformatted its bachelor degree completion program, GOAL (Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners), to utilize open educational resources, or OER, for its online degree curricula. OER replaces traditional textbooks, providing students immediate access to the latest, most relevant learning resources. Currently, Grace offers three online OER degree completion programs: Business Administration, Management, and Human Services. Beginning in January, a fourth degree in Quality Management (QM) will be added.
“We are excited to utilize open educational resources for all of our online GOAL curricula,” said Tim Ziebarth, executive dean of the Grace College School of Online and Professional Education. “It was a big undertaking to rewrite all of our courses to align with OER and eliminate textbooks, but we’re certain it was the best decision for our students and their learning experience.”
Ziebarth says the transition to OER is consistent with Grace’s innovation priority. “OER allows us to make the most up-to-date learning resources available to students 24-7. Students appreciate the accessibility and faculty like the ability to hand-select the best documents and media for their classes,” he said.
OER materials are housed on a learning management system which allows students to share and digitally archive resources – capabilities that aren’t possible with textbooks. Professors are also able to adjust course content in real-time, keeping pace with the “real world.” In addition, OER provides the ability for students to hit the ground running on day one of class – without waiting around for textbook delivery.
For eight years, Grace has offered GOAL for adults who wish to complete their bachelor’s degree while maintaining life, family and work commitments. GOAL was specifically designed for individuals who experienced an interruption in pursuit of their bachelor’s degree. Grace developed GOAL to be accessible, affordable and manageable for busy adults. Building upon previous college credits and other learning experiences equivalent to about two years of college, a bachelor’s degree can be completed at Grace in as little as 16 months.
Starting in January, a bachelor’s degree in quality management will be offered through GOAL online. This program is designed for current quality management employees who wish to advance their career, as well as those with an interest in beginning a career in this high-demand field.
“In addition to our local orthopedic industry, there are a number of industries in our region that rely on well-trained QM employees to make their businesses successful,” said Ziebarth. These industries include manufacturing, automotive, food processing and service, according to Ziebarth.
Quality management degree graduates will learn proficiencies in quality systems, post-market surveillance, design control and assurance, supply chain management, statistical processes and more. The Grace program will prepare students for success in wide range of manufacturing positions.
“We hope that by offering degree completion in quality management, many adults with an interest or experience in manufacturing will determine to finish their bachelor’s degree and advance their careers,” said Ziebarth. “We’re glad to be able to help meet the needs of our local industries as well as reach out to professionals across our region and the country through the online program.”
Applications are now being accepted for all GOAL programs beginning in January. If you are interested in completing your bachelor’s degree in Quality Management, Business Administration, Management, or Human Services, call 800-823-8533 or log on to online.grace.edu.