Bulletin of Dental Education

Phoenix College Supports Open Educational Resources in Allied Dental Education

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Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix College is a Hispanic serving institution with more than 60% first-generation college students. Of the many barriers students encounter, the prohibitive cost of textbooks is quite common. The Phoenix College Dental & Allied Health Department has encountered issues with student access to course materials, which drove the interest in finding viable alternative resources. The department’s faculty have leveraged Open Educational Resources (OER) to increase accessibility and promote equity among all students. The decision to create and revise OER content has the additional benefit of producing learning material that can be openly used among all allied dental educators.

OER in Allied Dental Education

Allied dental education requires comprehensive resources to support student learning and skill development. OER can be a practical alternative to commercial textbooks and materials because it can be customized to meet specific program requirements. However, as our journey to locate dental assisting and dental hygiene-specific OER began, it quickly became apparent that there was not much open, dental-related content. Confronted with the lack of readily available allied dental OER, the department decided to create, revise and remix educational materials to benefit students.

Collaboration is central to OER, and Phoenix College’s experience underscores the potential for a collective effort by allied dental faculty to create and openly share learning materials and resources that address the specific needs of the field, related programs and students.

OER Fellowship

Beginning in 2021, the OER Committee at Phoenix College organized an annual fellowship program for faculty to develop and implement an OER project within a course they teach. A few dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty accepted the challenge and were able to create and revise OER to use in their courses. The outcome was overwhelmingly positive! Some examples include local anesthesia technique videos, LMS modules on dietary analysis and counseling in dentistry and procedural dental assisting videos, like coronal polishing and radiography techniques.

In addition to these learning materials, opportunities were designed for students to create their own resources that they can later use in their clinical practice. One major strength of OER is that it can live beyond the course—especially when students are included in the process.

For example, one assignment asks students to create dietary counseling infographics for patient nutritional education, which can then be shared and used outside the scope of the class. Students have provided positive feedback on their experiences with OER and creating “renewable” assignments.

Want to Learn More? 

Phoenix College Faculty, Andreea Catana, M.P.H., RDH, CDA, AzEFDA-RF, CRFDA, CDIPC; Kerry Darrow, M.Ed., B.S.D.H., RDH; Rosa Querry, M.Ed., B.S.D.H., RDH; and Library Faculty, Ben Aloe, showcased the work the dental programs have accomplished at the sixth annual Arizona Regional OER Conference on March 1, 2024.

The presentation highlighted the collaborative effort within the Phoenix College Dental & Allied Health Department to create and incorporate OER to support curriculum. This virtual conference was open to anyone interested in learning more about OER. Review the event’s program here.

Published on March 13, 2024

Courtesy of the Phoenix College Dental & Allied Health Department

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