Through its new partnerships with the OpenStax program and other providers of free digital resources, GRCC has replaced almost $590,000 in textbooks with free or substantially less expensive versions.
In February, GRCC joined Rice University’s OpenStax program, which provides free, high-quality peer-reviewed textbooks. This semester, more than 90 GRCC class sections — including biology, math, business, theater, English, history, physics and chemistry classes — used the open-educational resource, or OER, texts.
The total cost of the commercial textbooks that GRCC replaced with OER versions is $589,828. Actual savings to students varies, depending on whether they would have bought a new or used textbook or if they would have rented — or gone without — one. With OpenStax, students may use the texts online for free or pay a significantly reduced cost for a printed version.
OpenStax research shows that 90 percent of students opt for the free online textbooks. That would mean that students in GRCC’s OER class sections saved more than $570,000 during the fall semester alone.
GRCC has been working to make more students aware of open-education resource textbooks. Students can now run searches for OER class sections when setting up their schedules. Professors and adjunct instructors are also sharing information about the program.