Werth selected for OER Research Fellowship

Eric Werth, Ed.D., professional development manager at the University of Pikeville, has been selected to participate in the Open Education Group’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Research Fellowship program sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OER may be freely used, edited if desired and shared with others. During the one-year fellowship, Werth, along with a select group of other professionals working in higher education, will participate in research addressing the impact of OER on the cost of education and student success outcomes, usage patterns and perceptions of OER. Another focus of the fellowship will be open pedagogy, a learning strategy where students create OER themselves, thus contributing to the education of others.

As a result of the fellowship, Werth will have the ability to apply OER research on UPIKE’s campus to benefit students and faculty. Through expanded OER utilization, more students will have free digital access to course content traditionally found in textbooks, which reduces cost for students and provides them a greater chance for success in the classroom. OER utilization provides faculty with a greater ability to customize course content and see enhanced student performance.

Werth views the fellowship as an opportunity to collaborate with a network of professionals studying the benefits of OER and bring best practices to UPIKE.

“The OER Research Fellows program will provide me the ability to work with others around the country seeking ways to improve student success and retention,” said Werth. “What I learn through my own research and that of other fellows has the potential not only to benefit UPIKE, but also students throughout the Appalachian region.”

Werth has spent most of his career researching and implementing innovative teaching and learning approaches. His research experience spans two decades, and his work has been published in peer-reviewed publications as well as by organizations dedicated to enhancing the teaching-learning dynamic. Werth’s presentations to professional societies, universities and other organizations often focus on leveraging technology in teaching and learning.

Prior to assuming his current role at UPIKE, Werth served as the university’s teaching and learning coordinator. He joined UPIKE in 2016 after relocating from Nampa, Ida., where he was a faculty member and directed the Center of Online and Blended Learning at Northwest Nazarene University.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in microbiology, Werth obtained his Doctorate in Education specializing in curriculum and instruction. He also holds a secondary teaching certification and taught in the K-12 system for several years.

Werth will join OER fellows at the 16th Annual Open Education Conference in Phoenix in October as well as interact with them virtually throughout the fellowship experience.