This post was contributed by Christina Trunnell, Library Director, Treasure Valley Community College.
While the value and possibilities of higher education are without measure, the cost of attainment is problematic at best, and daunting at the least. In rural and economically challenged communities, this cost quickly becomes insurmountable for many community college students. Though there is little the individual instructor can do to aid their students in affording a quality education, some have stepped up to challenge this in the one way that faculty can help, by standing against the rising costs of textbooks.
To that end, faculty at TVCC are adopting Open Education Resources (OER) into their course designs. Projects are currently underway to create or improve OER in Writing 121-123, Biology labs, Medical Terminology, Criminal Justice, Math 105, Nutrition, and more. With the completion of these efforts, TVCC faculty project a cost savings of nearly $173,000 per year for our students. The students at Treasure Valley Community College as well as the larger academic community benefit greatly from efforts to create, adopt, and collaborate on OER.
Fall of 2015 was the real starting point for TVCC. We hosted an Open Textbook workshop that provided education and the opportunity to receive a $200 stipend for reviewing a book in the Open Textbook Library. In February, the campus hosted an all-day OER Sprint – the first event of its kind in Oregon – designed to connect TVCC faculty with colleagues from other institutions who were already OER champions.
The faculty continue to create and adopt new materials through library resources, Open Oregon’s resources, HECC grants, and the greater open education commons. These are incredible efforts which will spearhead the way for further movement towards increased student success and a more established open education presence at TVCC.