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OER program at Fredonia leads to student savings
Friday, December 29, 2017

OER program at Fredonia leads to student savings

Across the state, the rising cost of textbooks and other course related materials have put a financial strain on students and their families. To assist in reducing the costs, Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated $4 million to SUNY in 2017 as part of the Excelsior Scholarship Program to promote the use of Open Educational Resources (OER).

OERs provide students with access to high-quality, affordable educational content. The resources can include textbooks, course readings, and other learning content, such as simulations, games, quizzes, and assessment tools. Not only are OERs adaptable for many courses and disciplines, but according to recent studies, they also improve learning because students have access to the necessary course materials when they need it.

As part of Fredonia’s Strategic Enrollment Management plan (SEM), the campus Textbook Affordability Committee developed a process to solicit, review, and award small grants for faculty to adopt OER for their classes. In total, 41 faculty applied for OER Incentive grants from 13 different academic departments, including Language Learning and Leadership, Psychology, Communication, History, Computer Science, Curriculum and Instruction, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Applied Professional Studies, World Languages and Cultures, Business, Music, Mathematical Sciences and English. Based on faculty participation in the program, Fredonia will offer 171 total sections of OER courses over the next two years. Early estimates indicate that OER adoption will save students nearly $309,850, and organizers note that it is very likely that student savings will increase over time.

The Registrar’s Office has been working in collaboration with the Professional Development Center (PDC) to identify OER courses (or sections of courses) in a manner that will be searchable when students are making decisions about their course selection for a given term. In addition, students can compare textbook costs and locate OER courses through the University Bookstore online services.

Moving forward, the Textbook Affordability Committee will continue to advocate for quality, low-cost options for course materials, while identifying alternative methods to reduce the financial burdens of high-cost textbook place on students. If you would like to be part of the conversation, please contact committee chairs, Kerrie Wilkes of Reed Library and Dr. David Kinkela of the Department of History.

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