Category Archives: News

OER and College Financial Readiness

The 1,000 Dreams Fund is a non-profit organization with a mission of providing financial support to women attending college. Recently, the organization surveyed 1,092 young college females and males, some of which were recent college graduates about college cost expectations (Campus Technology).

The survey found that among those that did not complete college, finances were an issue, with 60% of Hispanic students who did not complete college, reporting financial limitations. Unexpected college costs were also more of an issue for females than males (Campus Technology).

The report concluded that the unexpected college costs which include textbooks, housing, food, school exams and fees, and moving expenses are more likely to keep first generation students, and females from participating in extracurricular college activities, and internships, both which are advantageous when recent college graduates enter the workforce (Campus Technology).


Source: Campus Technology, Dian Schaffhauser, 10/30/17

OER and other properly licensed free course materials can assist students especially those who are at risk of leaving college early to not only satisfactorily complete their goals but can also be beneficial in providing opportunities for these students to engage in campus extracurricular activities, internships, tutoring, and other student success behaviors outside of the classroom. This potential benefit of having faculty use OER is not often examined or taken into account when institutions consider saving students money on textbooks costs through openly licensed course materials. The findings from this 1,000 Dreams Fund survey can also be helpful when designing Zero Textbook Cost degree (ZTCD) pathways.


Use of Free Course Materials Is on the Rise

New reports show that openly licensed resources and other cost saving behaviors are making an impact on the high cost of textbooks. Business Wire reported that student spending on textbooks and course materials has declined by approximately 15% over the last decade or $100. In 2016-2017 the average spending on textbooks and course materials was approximately $543. Various reports contribute this decline to more smarter student behaviors rather than a decline in textbook pricing (Business Wire).

According to the National Association of College Stores, while the overwhelming majority of college students purchase new traditionally copyrighted textbooks, 25% of students in spring 2017, and up from 19% in 2016, accessed free course materials.

textbook costs.png

Source: National Association of College Stores

The increase in the use of free course materials is most likely related to the OER outreach efforts taking place at many colleges and universities. In its 2016-2017 Connect OER Report, SPARC found that among its member institutions of higher education, libraries are the most engaged institutional sources of OER information, and about half of the institutions have a staff or faculty with OER related responsibilities (SPARC, 2017). The survey conducted by SPARC of its members also found that the most common OER program is funded through grants, with most of them beginning in 2016 and 2017 (SPARC, 2017).


Source: Connect OER Annual Report, SPARC, 2016-2017

Launching OER Degree Pathways

Achieving the Dream is a non-profit organization working to improve student success for community college students across the country through leadership, support, innovative strategies, and projects.

The organization awarded grant funding as part of its Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative to 38 community colleges across 13 states to develop zero textbook cost degree pathways. Recently Achieving the Dream detailed progress on its initiative in a report titled: Launching OER Degree Pathways: An Early Snapshot of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative and Emerging Lessons.

Here are some of the main findings from the report: Continue reading

College Students Struggle with Hunger and Homelessness

Click here to read report: Number Of Hungry And Homeless Students Rises Along With College Costs

Click here to listen to report:

Visit to learn how to save students money on the high cost of textbooks.

SBVC Academic Senate Celebrates Open Education Week

On Wednesday March 29th, the SBVC Academic Senate will be hosting a special OER meeting to celebrate the Open Education Week. Open Education Week brings awareness to open educational resources around the globe. Now in its fifth year of inception, Open Education Week is organized by the Open Education Consortium.

The open education movement at SBVC is growing as more faculty adopt OER in their courses. Some of the topics that we will be covered include OER funding opportunities, Canvas Commons, and digital learning platforms, including Open Stax partner vendor  information.

Power Point Presentation: Mixer


Open Textbooks, Think OpenStax


OpenStax the leader in the open textbook movement, was founded in 1999 Richard Baraniuk, an electrical engineering professor at Rice University. The open textbook publisher is funded by various philanthropic organizations, most notably the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill and & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 20MM Foundation among others.

OpenStax offers openly licensed textbooks for 23 of the 25 highest enrolled introductory college courses and it will soon release Astronomy, University Physics, Elementary Algebra, and Microbiology. All textbooks are peer reviewed and updated regularly as necessary. Click here for a complete list of OpenStax textbooks. Continue reading

California’s Legislative OER History

The Community College League of California in its June 2016 e-newsletter provided a summary of major legislation adopted to support the use of open educational resources (OER) in higher education to address the high cost of textbooks. Below is an outline of the legislation. Continue reading