OER Save Students More Than $3 million in Textbook Costs

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OER Librarian Michaela Willi Hooper helps a student navigate Open Educational Resources.

Thanks to the dedication LBCC faculty, students and staff, LBCC’s textbook affordability movement has paid off in a big way for students, saving them more than $3 million in textbook costs over the past three years.

Beginning in the fall 2015, LBCC’s Textbook Affordability Steering Committee began working to reduce textbook costs by developing low-cost or no-cost options, including Open Educational Resources (OER) and Library ebooks. That amount continues to rise, and it's projected that students will see another $2 million more in savings over the next year.

With the average cost of one textbook at $150 or more, textbook costs can become barrier to student success, creating a negative impact on retention, time to degree and student completion.

OER are a free or low-cost option to expensive books, and are open to anyone to use. They are created by educators and experts in the field, and are one of the most exciting low-cost options for textbook replacement, said LBCC OER Librarian Michaela Willi Hooper.

“As our instructors create OER, it benefits both students and community members. They can access OER through the college Community Archive section on the LBCC library web site, and view for free anytime," said Willi Hooper. 

LBCC instructors already have a number course materials available through OER Commons, an online repository for open content in many different formats. Subjects currently covered include math, English composition, computer science, physical science and Spanish.

Instructors choose educational materials that best fit their classes, which students then access online. Students can choose to print the open textbooks or purchase them at low-cost through the college Campus Store.

“OER can be written, customized, or selected to not only cover course content and meet class learning outcomes, but to design a variety of delivery methods which allows students to pick a format that best fits their individual learning style," said Kristi Murphey, LBCC Physical Education and Health faculty member.

Tinamarie Ivey, LBCC Performing Arts faculty member, said “My students really appreciate using OER, and say it's easy to use and access. Textbooks can be so expensive, and many students tell me they often won't enroll in a course that has expensive books. OER helps make college affordable.”

Textbook affordability is just part of a larger effort by the college to address financial barriers for students, which can greatly affect their ability to complete their educational goals. The college Foundation has a fund designated to help students overcome some of those financial barriers, helping students get back on track and stay on track to finish their college educational goals.

To find out more about this fund and how you can help, visit the LBCC Foundation or call us at 541-917-4209.

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More than 19,000 students rely on Linn-Benton Community College each year for higher education including career technical education, transfer degree programs, professional development, corporate training, small business development, community education classes and more. Serving the mid-Willamette Valley with six locations including its fully comprehensive campus, LBCC partners with multiple business and industries to enrich the community and support economic growth. LBCC students choose from more than 80 programs and go on to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, skilled workers and community builders.