SPC students save thousands of dollars using OER’s

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:38 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - “Our faculty have been working on what’s called open education resources,” Dean of Arts & Sciences Alan Worley said. “This is a no textbook no online supplemental components so it will be free for our students.”

The cost of a college degree is going up and has been for decades.

Over the past 20 years, the average price per year at a four-year public in-state school has ballooned to more than $25,000, and more than $16,000 thousand at two-year schools.

The administration at South Plains College is taking steps to lower their costs.

“Our faculty are working hard as far as trying to find ways to save them money,” Worley said. “By producing materials they can have for free on the first day of class.”

Those OER’s saved nearly $700,000 for students over the fall semester.

And the savings will continue to rack up.

“It’s amazing to think that we’re gonna save students over one million dollars over one academic year because of the work they’ve put into trying to save students money,” Worley said.

That frees up students to purchase other tools that would help in the pursuit of a degree.

“It will allow them to invest in potentially a laptop, internet access at home, gas, food rent. So, we want our students to be able to survive financially.”

More than increased financial stability SPC professor Erika Warnick says this allows students to learn the way they want to.

“I really see this as truly beyond just a project. it’s a movement in higher education,” Warnick said. “More of our students today want free resources that will help them save money also resources that are digitally based.”

OER’s offer both of those things. Almost always online, the resources can be accessed, built, and redistributed by any student.

“They’re able to pull it up on their phone, their tablet they can print it quickly,” Warnick explained. “So, it really I think meets them where they are today as college students...it changes how we teach, and it does, it puts every student on that same playing field.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has already started using OER’s through the OERTX repository and is actively encouraging students and teachers to create material to be used by others.

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