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B-CU Receives Merlot/OLC Service Award

DAYTONA BEACH, FL- Bethune-Cookman University received the Merlot/OLC Service Award at the International Online Learning Consortium/MERLOT INNOVATE conference attended by over 1200 professionals. This award was presented during the OLC/MERLOT Awards and Leadership Ceremony.

Dr. Arletha McSwain with president accepts award“Bethune-Cookman University is not only leading the HBCU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative, but is a national model for how an institution of higher education can be innovative and agile in adopting Open Education Resources as a powerful student success program. Interim President Grimes, his staff, and his faculty presented their exemplary practices and proven outcomes on the positive impact of their AL$ program for their students. We are so grateful for his leadership and encouragement ‘not to compete but complete’ each other’s mission to improve student success in engaging, innovative and affordable ways,” states Dr. Gerry Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Services, California State University Office of the Chancellor and Executive Director of MERLOT.

B-CU is the first HBCU to receive this award for its exemplary implementation of Open Education Resources (OER). B-CU’s highly-skilled faculty redesigned 55 courses comprised of the entire general education courses and 30 online courses for the MBA in the College of Business and Entrepreneurship. The MBA will be launched this fall.

“It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of our dedicated faculty and talented students,” said Dr. Arletha McSwain, Executive Director of B-CU Global Online Partnerships. “The preliminary data has yielded positive student performance, increased student engagement, and saved students hundreds of dollars.”

For the spring semester, there are 834 students enrolled in OER classes. Final grades from last semester and midterm grades for this semester indicate students are performing at the same rate or better than students enrolled in online and face-to-face courses that are not using OER.

Faculty, director or MERLOT & BCU president Dr. Robbie Melton, Dean of the Tennessee State University (TSU) Graduate School & Graduate Professional Studies, states, “Bethune-Cookman University continues to serve as a pioneer HBCU as it relates to providing open education resources to students. This most recent recognition combined with B-CU’s ranking as the fifth best HBCU offering online degree programs is a testament to the leadership from the top.”

OLC believes that advancing education requires continuous visionary leadership from all disciplines by challenging teaching and learning paradigms, by reimagining the learning experience and ideating on how disruptions in education today will shape the innovative classroom today.

“I am deeply grateful to receive this recognition on behalf of the tireless work and innovation being performed by our faculty and staff. The award recognizes that B-CU is in sync with numerous other institutions of higher learning in expanding access to timely, current and innovative information for our students,” said Interim President Hubert Grimes, Esquire. “The OER program is a key component of our strategic plan, which seeks to enhance the University’s Academic Enterprise."

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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