Spotlight on Erin Cunningham and the OER World History Project

Spotlight on Erin Cunningham and the OER World History Project


OER Project is an Open Education Resource Curriculum that has grown to include multiple curricula, and Riverside Brookfield High School uses one of them: the World History Project. Historians power the World History Project and prepare students for college, career, and AP History exams. This program is entirely online and 100% free. 


Erin Cunningham, a social sciences teacher at RBHS, was intrigued by this course after attending the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) Conference in 2018. This conference allowed RB to join a pilot program and preview world history materials before they went public. The goal of this course was to transition away from the previous Western Civilization course taught at RB, and now World History has been primarily taught for two years.


The OER Project Teacher Community is where Erin got herself more involved with forums for feedback and to talk with other teachers about lesson plans. Teachers can make posts about student examples of what they did with specific lessons and how they modified them to fit their classroom. One of the unique things about this project is that teachers can collaborate with people across the world.


“I’m collaborating with a teacher from New Jersey, so it’s like the Professional Learning Communities we have at RB, but at a broader level,” said Cunningham. 


Since RB was a pilot school of this program and Erin posted frequently in the online community, the OER Project asked Erin if she wanted to be a Teacher Leader. For about a year, she was assigned a mentor, and they discussed the curriculum and how to become more active in the community. Part of being a mentor is writing “Mentor Monday” posts, which are more formal blog posts. 


Erin attended a summit in Seattle with 30-40 teachers and interacted with teachers she’d met online from all over the world.


“Not only are we collaborating across the U.S., but our students at RB have done the same assignments as students in Australia,” said Cunningham.


On September 9, Erin hosted an AP writing workshop where she went through the AP History Exam and the OER Project’s approach to the writing process. This program reflects the trends in history education that help students think more like historians rather than just memorizing facts.


Spotlight on Erin Cunningham and the OER World History Project