The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing stressors in the lives of many college students. Jobs, housing and food insecurity have been compounded by new health issues and the rapid shift to e-learning.
In the 2020-2021 academic year, like other universities in Hawaii campus, Leeward Community College turned to distance learning. The college’s early adoption of open educational resources (REL) and other free resources have helped reduce the financial burden of expensive textbooks.
In the spring of 2021, downwind CC, the leader of the zero-cost manual (TXT0) course in EUHThe company’s 10-campus system achieved more than half (52%) of all classroom sections with zero-cost textbooks.
“In the spring of 2019, under the wind CC had 35% of classes like TXT0, which has saved students over $ 3.4 million since we started tracking in 2015. I really thought class numbers would start to level off, but I was amazed when two more years late, we’re at 52% with $ 6.3 million in (cumulative) savings for students, ”said Leanne riseley, Acting Dean of Academic Services.
For students looking to graduate during a pandemic without access to the resources they would normally need, RELs are proving to be the difference in helping their pursuit of academic goals. Not having to pay for course materials gives them the flexibility to use their money in other ways to meet their personal needs.
Students sing the praises of the free textbooks. Brianna Dyson graduated in liberal arts from Leeward CC in May 2020.
“With the $ 121.80 that I didn’t have to spend on a textbook, I was able to pay for my son’s daycare!” Dyson said.
Genesis Larson used his textbook savings in a different way.
She said, “With the money I didn’t have to spend on a textbook, I saw the world I was learning.”
The big picture
TXT0 is part of a bigger EUH Open educational resources initiative to make colleges more affordable by replacing expensive business textbooks and other course materials with open-licensed versions that are available free to students. the Creative Commons licenses integral part of RELs allow trainers to adopt the material as is or to adapt and modify it to align with the specific learning outcomes of their course.
Downwind CC, this initiative inspired faculty and academic support staff to collaborate and innovate – librarians helped teachers identify RELs for their classes and where RELs did not exist, the library supported their move to TXT0 by purchasing e-books and subscribing to streaming video collections accessible (and free) to students. Instructional designers helped instructors integrate RELs in their online courses and guided them through the course redesign process if necessary.
“Leeward side CC continues to strive to achieve the EUH Community College’s strategic goal of reducing the cost of education for students by adopting REL to replace textbooks. Said the chancellor Carlos Peñaloza.
Since 2015, Leeward CC provided professional development and trained over 150 teachers from all over EUH Community College Campuses, EUH Hilo and EUH Where is Oʻahu. They gave this training the skills and confidence to use them. REL in their classes.
Teachers see the benefits
This synergy has had a direct impact on student learning and many CCFaculty believe the benefits of transitioning away from expensive business course textbooks and materials were well worth it.
Ashley biddle, a psychology professor, said: “I used to find that students were overwhelmed with the amount of reading a textbook and they just weren’t doing it or reading but weren’t doing a great job at it. extract important information. So when I created my own re-mix RELs, I’ve pulled this information out for them, woven into YouTube videos, recorded my own mini-lectures on important topics, and included links to popular news articles on related topics. And the students are currently reading! Grades improved, retention improved! “
—By Tad Saiki