A statewide council is looking at how to increase the use of open educational resource materials in colleges to address the high cost of textbooks.
The council plans to create a digital repository of open educational resources for colleges and to determine how those resources are used in college classrooms across the state. It will make recommendations about how to increase their use.
Open educational resources can be freely copied and distributed and potentially reduce what students pay each semester.
Finding quality open educational resources is one of the main challenges for faculty members, and a repository could help Fort Lewis College staff, said Barbara Morris, FLC’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“I’m really very excited about the collaboration at the state level. I think it will be very useful to the faculty,” she said.
The college’s bookstore and library staff can help faculty members find free sources for classes currently, she said.
FLC students should expect to pay $1,250 each year for books and supplies, according to the school’s website.
The college is always looking at ways to control cost for students, and open educational resources is one way to do that, Morris said.
Todd Ecklund, chief academic officer with Pueblo Community College, said the college bookstore manager suggests educational resources as an option for faculty members to consider each semester.
Faculty at PCC and FLC determine what books to use in their classes.
Ecklund could not say how much a student could expect to spend on books and materials because it varies too much depending on a student’s area of study.
The Open Educational Resources Council was formed by the state Legislature. It is made up of 14 members – including faculty, librarians and administrators – and represents two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. Members of the council were nominated by their respective campus leaders and provide expert insight and act as advocates for the future of these resources in Colorado.
To learn more about the OER Council and view meeting information, visit http://bit.ly/2iIIu61.
The council must report its findings and recommended initiatives to the Joint Budget Committee and the education committees of the General Assembly by Nov. 20.