Open Education Week is an awareness raising campaign and celebration of the free and open educational resources that are being used and created around the world today. Open Educational Resources (OER) are “freely available, high quality learning materials that can be downloaded, edited, shared, and used in place of publisher textbooks to better serve all students.” (SPARC https://sparcopen.org/)
Textbook Cost is a Significant Issue
College students are paying $1,200+ per year on textbooks. At the UW-Colleges, more often than not, our students are financially unstable and likely to drop out because of a car problem or medical bill. This is bigger than just us, textbook cost is a significant issue nationally in higher education. But, at the Colleges our mission is to provide access and reduce barriers when possible and we take that very seriously. Right now, there is a worldwide community of people who are producing freely available, high quality learning materials that can be downloaded, edited, shared, and used in place of publisher textbooks to reduce or eliminate that barrier in order to make our students more successful.
OER's Increase Access
Open Educational Resources address more than just the cost issue with textbooks. In a course that uses Open Educational Resources, every single student has access to the textbook on the very first day. They have access on their phones while they are waiting for their kids to get out of karate. They can't forget their textbook when they are scrambling to get from home to work to school. OER increase access to the text, they increase success in those classes, they allow students to take more classes if they want to, and quite frankly, successful students stick around. We work so hard to help these students succeed and it’s heartbreaking to think that the difference for some of them is the cost of a textbook. By making use of these free, high quality materials, not only are we addressing a variety of issues, but it is also a way for us to show our students that we respect their time and their money and they appreciate that because often they don't feel that way.
To Find Out More
Visit your library this week. There is information on OER, Creative Commons, and print and electronic copies of OER textbooks on display.
You can also attend the webinar sponsored by the UWC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning next week on Tuesday, March 13th, at noon. https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/719ed8b96c9249f4a1498fcbbd5b956e