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BCCC Introduces Cost-Free Textbook Classes for Fall 2017

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Open Educational Resources classes cut student textbook fees; increase student access to course materials.

 

Baltimore City Community College students can now reduce their textbook costs to near-zero with the introduction of Open Educational Resources (OER) courses. OER is part of a state and nationwide effort to reduce college costs for students by employing cost-free resources such as e-textbooks, videos, lessons, and assessments.

 

This fall, BCCC students will be able to enroll in no-textbook courses in psychology, biology and in BCCC’s student success seminar.

 

“OER is a huge initiative in higher education today,” says Professor Diana Zilberman, Ph.D., director of the Center of Excellence in E-Learning and Teaching Innovation at BCCC. “BCCC is in the forefront of a national movement for making college more affordable for students. OER is a very important step in advancing student learning.”

 

With the average textbook cost of $150 per course, students enrolled in OER courses can save hundreds of dollars and use these savings on tuition and other educational costs. Faculty also benefits because OER materials can be freely used and reused at no cost and without needing to ask permission from publishers.

 

“Providing cost-effective, high-quality courses that lead to jobs for our students is critical to BCCC’s mission. Open Educational Resources are yet another example of how BCCC is pioneering innovative learning strategies,” says BCCC President/CEO Dr. Gordon F. May.

 

Another benefit of OER classes is that course materials are ready on the first day of class so students can start learning right away.

 

BCCC has launched a campaign to educate all its constituents about OER courses, which will receive the designation of Z-courses (z for zero-cost).  Students enrolled in Z-courses know that they will not be required to purchase expensive textbooks.

 

In May, three BCCC faculty and staff received OER mini-grants from the University System of Maryland’s Kirwan Center for Excellence for creating and offering courses that don’t require students to purchase textbooks. The College’s OER Taskforce hopes to expand and institutionalize OER classes.

 

“OER perfectly aligns with BCCC’s mission to provide ‘quality, affordable, and accessible educational opportunities for all students,” says Zilberman.

 

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