Edison plans alternative textbooks

PIQUA — Edison State Community College is teaming with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges as well as universities from around Ohio to reduce the cost of student textbooks.

The initiative, named Open Educational Resources (OER), is supported by a $1.3 million Innovation Grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

OER aims to increase access and affordability to higher education, enhance opportunities for innovation, support state educational attainment goals and address the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency report.

According to OhioLINK’s website, key deliverables of the initiative include creating, adopting, and utilizing OER materials for 22 courses. The goal is to reduce the cost of current textbooks by at least 70 percent in high enrollment courses, saving students at least four times the investment by the state within three years of the first implementation.

The initiative operates by determining courses with high enrollment, and therefore, a higher textbook usage, to create an OER alternative to a traditional textbook.

Faculty from Ohio community colleges, the Ohio State University, and Ohio Dominican University form disciplinary groups to review currently available OER material and identify which sources best meet course outcomes. Upon determining whether the material is sufficient, the selections are then sent to a separate review team who determines if the material will be added to the single repository for faculty to access.

“As an English faculty member, I have been conscious of our textbook costs,” added Brian Leingang. “We look forward to providing students with a totally free, online textbook on the very first day of class. If they’d prefer a printed copy, students will be able to purchase a printed copy of the book for under $12.”

Edison State students enrolled in other fundamental courses may also begin to take advantage of OER textbooks.