MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave Community College faculty have a goal to help students lower the cost of college by eliminating the high-cost of textbooks and course materials. They are doing this by finding or creating Open Educational Resources, commonly called OER in higher education circles.
OER are free or low-cost learning materials and MCC has dozens of courses where instructors are utilizing OER materials across all four campuses.
Life Science Instructor Eric Osborn was recently honored as an OER Hero by the higher education group called Open Textbooks for Rural Arizona.
Osborn has been building and publishing OERs for the past five years. He recently worked with MCC Lab Technician Angel Soto to put together a free chemistry lab manual that replaced the $200 traditional manual required for the class.
“Many of my students breathed a sigh of relief when I explained that all materials are now free for the course,” Osborn said. “For some of my students, buying a $300 textbook is a month of groceries or a month of bills or the gas to get to work and school or the day care they need for their children.”
Open Textbooks for Rural Arizona is comprised of eight colleges that have been working to lower costs for students. They identified the highest enrolled courses with the most expensive learning materials and are working to eliminate or lower the costs for students.
“The MCC Life Science department’s been using the no cost/low-cost model for many years,” Osborn said. “In microbiology the textbook and lab manual use to cost between $400 and $500, and now with the OER replacements those materials are free to the students.”
During the 2017-2018 academic year, MCC saved students over $500,000 in textbook costs. From 2014 to 2018 the college saved students over $1 million in textbook fees due to OER materials. MCC continues to work toward saving students the most money possible when it comes to textbook and course materials.
To learn more about the MCC Life Science degree pathway, visit Mohave.edu/LifeScience. Fall semester and summer semester enrollment is now open at MCC. The Summer semester starts May 22 and fall semester classes start August 14. The first step to becoming a student is to fill out the free online application at apply.mohave.edu, and if you need assistance visit a campus near you or call 866-MOHAVECC.