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North Shore Community College

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Open Educational Resources

Like many other institutions across the country, North Shore Community College has made a commitment to students to better assure they can access and afford their course materials. In 2014, the College sponsored an Innovation Grant for a collaboration between the Library, Instructional Technology and Design, and a faculty member to develop and implement an Open Textbook Initiative. Over the past two years, this group has worked with faculty to help them reduce the cost of their course materials by either replacing purchased materials for open content online as well as the Library’s digital resources and databases or by finding a more affordable course text (under $50) coupled with other free materials.

Since the start of 2015, the project has saved students over $40,000 in course material purchases. As they head into the second year of the project, over twenty faculty have started or are working to replace their textbooks with open and affordable materials.

What are Open Educational Resources?
Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, sharing, and/or adapting. (Adapted from UNESCO definition).

Why Open Educational Resources?
According to the Students Public Interest Research Group, the average textbook costs $120 at a community college and a student is likely to spend $1200 a year on textbooks alone. Many students go without a textbook, or take fewer courses because of these costs. Replacing a costly textbook with free or low-cost alternatives is a game-changer for many students.

Where Can Faculty Find Open Educational Resources?
The Open Textbook Initiative group created an Open Educational Resources Guide for faculty to locate quality, free content for their courses. The guide is designed to bring together practical and appropriate open educational resources that can be adapted for class use. This is also a forum where faculty can communicate and share the resources that they have found useful.

If you are interested in using Open Educational Resources to replace a textbook or as materials for a new course you are developing, we highly encourage you to contact us at ctli@northshore.edu or apply for a TAC Grant.

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