In four years, OTC's adoption of Open Educational Resources has saved students nearly $1 million in textbook costs.
Since 2019, Ozarks Technical Community College has saved its students nearly $1 million through Open Educational Resources (OER).
Open Educational Resources are no-cost teaching, learning and research materials. OER learning tools are either in the public domain or are released under an intellectual property license allowing their use.
“Open Educational Resources are high-quality, peer-reviewed materials that save students money,” said Sarah Mabee, college director of the OTC libraries. “OER supplies are especially impactful for community college students who tend to be some of the most under-resourced students in higher education.”
For the spring 2023 semester, OER materials are used in more than 360 OTC course sections. More than 4,600 OTC students are enrolled in classes with zero textbook costs.
The college’s courses that use no-cost materials are designated as “OpenOTC” classes. Through select classes, it is possible for a student to complete the coursework necessary for an Associate of Arts transfer degree without paying any textbook costs.
Psychology Instructor Dr. Eloise Thomas adapted an open-source textbook to use in OTC’s Introduction to Psychology classes. Besides being zero cost, Thomas says there is an added benefit to using the no-cost materials.
“I never hear students say, ‘I don’t have my textbook yet,’” Thomas said. “The book is online, and students have immediate access to it. That has made the start of the semester much smoother.”
If students want a physical copy of an OER textbook, they may request one from the bookstore for a fee, which is far less than a typical textbook. Students may also print the books themselves.