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Saving students a quarter million on textbooks

Saving students a quarter million on textbooks photo

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 – - Generated by XStandard version on 2013-04-22T08:29:03 -->

When Tacoma Community College launched the Open Educational Resources (OER) project in the spring of 2012, we set the goal of saving students $250,000 over two years through the adoption of free learning resources that can be substituted for expensive textbooks. Barely three quarters into the project we've exceeded that goal, saving students $266,000 on textbooks as of Spring Quarter 2013. And that number will just keep getting higher. As more instructors offer more OER courses each quarter, the number of textbooks TCC students don’t have to buy keeps going up.

OER classes offered at TCC:                                                

Fall Quarter 2012: 6 courses, 16 sections

Winter Quarter 2013: 10 courses, 20 sections

Spring Quarter 2013(projected): 18 courses, 39 sections

Enhancing Student Learning

“It’s all about student learning,” said Open Educational Resources Director Quill West. “The process invests in our students and teachers. It combines the development of courses with student feedback.” 

Though the number of textbook-free courses offered is still fairly small, they provide an important option for students who have trouble affording books each quarter. At TCC, textbook costs make up approximately a third of a student’s financial obligation each year.

Faculty may develop their own OER materials, or use materials developed at schools around the country and made available through sites like Merlot.org, CollegeOpenTextbooks.org, and Washington's Open Course Library.

“Some OER repositories have some form of peer review or rating system, which allows faculty to rate the materials and leave their credentials,” said West.

eLearning Director Andy Duckworth said that the goal of the project is to create a clearinghouse of materials instructors can choose from so that they don’t have to be dependent on the textbook for each course. Some instructors may still choose to use textbooks; it will depend on the requirements of each instructor, and each course.

West is currently trying to raise the visibility of OER courses with both faculty and students through a campaign called “Liberate $250K.”


TCC students control the disbursement of their Tech Fees through student government.  In February 2012, the students voted to allocate $90,000 for the development of OER course materials. The student contribution was matched by the college.  For more information, visit open.tacomacc.edu.

For additional information, please contact:
Rachel Payne
Communications Consultant
Phone: 253.460.4381
Email: rpayne@tacomacc.edu


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