MassBay Doubles Free Open Educational Resource Classes

·2 min read

WELLESLEY, MA — MassBay Community College is doubling the number of courses that use free or Open Educational Resources to 74 courses. The OER makes classes more affordable to students.

Open Educational Resources are free or low-cost text, media, and other digital assets which are useful for teaching, learning, and research. They are offered under a Creative Commons license that permits others to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute them.

Students receive free or low-cost access and use of the materials without the expense of buying or renting textbooks or other required course materials.

“When it became clear in the spring that the coronavirus would require higher education institutions like ours to move nearly all of our curriculum to an online or remote format, our faculty worked diligently to create new and innovative methods to continue providing a quality, affordable education,” said MassBay President, Dr. David Podell. “As four-year colleges are also shifting to an online format, they simply cannot compete with the price of our courses. In addition to our significantly lower tuition and fees, by utilizing OER, our students save even more money by requiring little to no printed materials. OER courses are closely aligned with our mission of providing an accessible, practical, and affordable education for students who choose MassBay.”

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education OER Advisory Committee calculates the average textbook cost per student is approximately $117 per course based on figures shared by SPARC (2018), a global OER advocacy group. Given that MassBay has an average of 17 students per course section, and with 74 courses using OER materials, this is an estimated aggregate cost savings of $147,186 for students using OER materials for fall 2020 courses.

MassBay’s fall semester started on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. See MassBay’s complete course offerings here; OER courses are noted in the textbook field.

This article originally appeared on the Wellesley Patch

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