Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Columbia State Uses Grants to Develop Cheaper Textbook Alternative


Columbia State Community College has received $60,000 from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) to develop Open Educational Resources (OER), a low-cost alternative to textbooks, for certain courses.

State regents recently announced the latest recipients of the OER Grant, and Columbia State stands to receive $30,000 each for “Introduction to Film” and “Modern World Literature.” 

In past years, the school also received funding to transform its English Composition I and English Composition II courses in time for the coming fall semester. 

“The opportunity to develop OER materials for literature studies not only provides the students with a cost-effective solution to textbooks that some just cannot afford, but also provides instructors the opportunity to introduce a further reach of materials to students beyond a traditional textbook,” Coleen McCready, an English instructor at Columbia State, said in a press release.

Textbook Dilemma

The Tennessee Board of Regents argues that textbook costs negatively impact the academic growth and success of a college student. The board referred to a study showing that up to two-thirds of students are not able to afford required class textbooks. The results of this economic hardship are: 

  • 37.6 percent receive poor grades; 
  • 47.6 percent enroll in fewer courses;
  • 26.1 drop courses; and
  • 19.8 percent fail classes.

In response, the state opted to develop open educational resources as it permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and more. The OER Grant Program will now give faculty members the opportunity to redesign classes, moving away from the use of expensive textbooks and towards other affordable options.

“The team of professors will craft a low-cost textbook alternative that will reduce costs for students, increase accessibility to all students seeking such a class and provide resources that leverage the technologies of internet resources,” said Dr. Stuart Lenig, a Columbia State professor of communications and drama. 

What’s Next?

The grant teams will attend a webinar series on OER development and immediately start working on their projects. Pilot courses will be offered in the spring semester next year. 

Materials that have been successfully reconstructed will be submitted to the digital repository of the state’s Board of Regents. 

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