Open Educational Resources

Lake Tahoe Community College is excited to be part of the Open Educational Resources initiative, working to adopt free or reasonably priced textbooks and other course materials.  Many of our faculty will be working this year to look at the OER option so that students will have easier access to an affordable education.  We hope that in the near future, many of the courses offered at LTCC will come with quality textbooks and learning materials that are free to access online and low cost to purchase as a paper copy.  This year, LTCC was granted an award to fund the research that will help with the adoption of OER materials.  This funding comes from AB 798, the California congressional bill that supports OER.

 

How will Open Educational Resources affect students?

Instructors are working hard to identify OER materials that are of equal or higher quality compared to the more expensive materials that are sold by regular publishers.  Typically, an instructor will put together a package of OER course materials that are accessible online for free or at a greatly reduced price.  Student who want a paper version will be able to purchase the materials at the bookstore at a cost that is much less than the traditional course materials.  The library will also have copies that students can check out and use in the library.  OER materials could potentially save students thousands of dollars during their academic career at LTCC.

 

Where will students access the digital OER materials?

There are several websites that host OER materials.  Your instructor will include information on the website to go to and will assist you in finding navigating to the site.  Some such sites are:
 
  • Cool4Ed:  California Open Online Library for Education, a great resource for information about OER and how it is being implemented in California.  
  • MERLOT.org: A peer reviewed collection of OER materials from all subjects.
  • Open Stax: A collection of OER textbooks.
  • OER Commons: A collection of OER materials searchable by subject

Here are some courses that have adopted OER textbooks
BIO 212:  Zoology
ENG 101:  Reading and Composition: Face to Face and Online
GEG 102: Human Geography:  Contemporary Human Geography | Edition: 2

MAT 201:  Elementary Statistics: Introductory Statistics
MAT 203:  Linear Algebra: Linear Algebra
PHY 104-105-106:  General Physics: College Physics


 

What faculty at LTCC are planning on adopting or have already adopted OER materials?
Below is a list of faculty who are actively researching OER materials in order to make an education at LTCC more affordable.  This list is sure to grow rapidly in the near future.
 
• Bob Albrecht, Psychology
• Bruce Armbrust, Mathematics
• Susan Boulanger, Theater
• Cathy Cox, Physics
• Larry Green, Statistics and Mathematics
• Naomi Green, Japanese
• Sue Kloss, Biology
• Beth Marinelli-Laster, Psychology
• Sara Pierce, Spanish
• Frances Pistoresi, English
• Madelyn Rios, Biology
• Kathy Strain, Biology
• Christina Tomolillo, Psychology
• Scott Valentine, Geography
• Wynn Walker, Statistics and Mathematics
 

What is AB 798?
AB 798 is the Textbook Affordability Program. It's goal is to save college students money by empowering professors and local campuses to adopt high quality, free and open educational resources for courses materials. Assemblywoman Bonilla (sponsor of AB 798) recognized that free and open educational resources can reduce the total cost of education for students and their families in California's higher education institutions. LTCC's AB 798 proposal will enable the promise of a more affordable education to its students to become a reality.
Funds from AB 798 are to be used for professional development so that faculty and staff learn about open educational resources and how they will make college more affordable for students.  Funds cannot be used for the following:
 
  • Direct compensation for faculty members who adopt open educational resources, except as provided to compensate for professional development.  
  • The development of MOOC's or online courses that include non-matriculated students.
  • The creation of new OER materials.
  • The purchase of new equipment.
  • Past curricular conversions to OER materials
 

What is the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree?
LTCC was recently awarded a planning grant to identify pathways that can be created for students where they will walk into the college take their courses and receive their associates or arts degree or their certificate without having to spend a dime on textbooks.  The college is currently looking at several possible degrees where this could become a possibility.  This will be a gradual process where one by one, courses will be identified that will become ZTC courses.  Even those who will earn a degree that is not a ZTC degree can benefit since there will be general education pathways that will be ZTC.
 
Questions about Open Educational Resources?  Email Larry Green at:  drLarryGreen@gmail.com