The Board of Trustees at Lansing Community College (LCC) approved $500,000 in funding to support piloting a faculty award program to save students money by replacing textbooks with open educational resources (OER) across many courses. OER are freely available, openly licensed teaching and learning materials that allow others to reuse, revise, remix, retain and redistribute the content.
Textbook costs present a significant barrier to students. All too often students forego buying textbooks because they cannot afford them. Studies show not having access to learning materials can impact a student’s ability to succeed in class. Through the use of OER, students have free and unfettered access to their course materials from day one. OER also offer faculty the flexibility to adapt and customize learning materials specifically for their students.
“If education is necessary for securing certain basic human rights, then lack of access to education is itself an issue of justice,” said LCC professor of philosophy Matthew Van Cleave. “Providing high quality, low-cost open educational resources is one, small part of making higher education more affordable and thus more equitable and just.”
Since the OER initiative started in fall 2015, LCC has already saved students almost $1.1M in textbook costs. This fall, LCC has 74 faculty in 27 courses representing 150 sections with 3,724 students enrolled in courses using OER. With the OER pilot award program, the college can increase OER adoptions, especially in high-enrollment courses where there are already significant, high-quality OER existing.
“Having OER for my Economics class was a life saver. I am a student who lives paycheck to paycheck. Saving money for textbook helped me to support my family financially even though it was around $150. I’m hoping more instructors will use OER so that more students can benefit,” said Mang Par Chin Sung, a Business Administration student now on her 3rd year at LCC.
Another student, Sergio Gomez, in the Criminal Justice program, remarked, “What I like about OER is that it saved me a lot of money. In my history class, we used a free online textbook that saved me $250. I was able to use that extra money to pay for another class.”
“The OER initiative is clearly making a difference to our students. This OER Award program is designed to enable us to help more students by providing support to our faculty and encourage them to consider using OER for their courses,” OER project manager Regina Gong said. “The success of our OER initiative is due to our faculty’s commitment to help and provide our students with no-cost or low-cost learning materials. OER is truly a step towards college affordability while enabling our faculty to take control of learning materials.”
The OER pilot award program is open to full-time and adjunct teaching faculty through an application that covers three categories:
· Category 1: Adoption of existing OER material
· Category 2: Revise and remix of existing OER material or creation of supplemental materials
· Category 3: Creation of new OER
SOURCE: PRESS RELEASE