Education Advances with OER

PCCC’s Open Educational Resource (OER) Initiative has taken off since its introduction in the spring of 2016.

The initiative enables students to have fewer obstacles in the way of their education by providing their textbooks online and free of charge. The growth is with 233 different OER sections available for students this semester.

The cost per year for students is around $1200 for textbooks, and OER helps to erase that cost. 60-70% of students aren’t buying the books and as a result, they aren’t doing as well in their classes as they could be.

“We have the ability to remove one cost variable. We can’t do much about tuition, we can’t do much about other things, but textbooks are the area where we can make a difference,” said Gregory Fallon, Dean of Learning Resources at PCCC.

“A little over 25-26% of the sections are OER, and PCCC is looking to change that number into 50%,” said Dean Fallon, when asked about the goals of OER.

When looking at the assessment rates of OER from the past few years, it is obvious that there is a better success rate in classes that have utilized OER. Students are less stressed because they don’t have to worry about having to pay hundreds of dollars for their books.

“OER provides an ease on my financial burdens,” a PCCC student, Jay Marie Martinez says. “I don’t have to carry heavy textbooks which can cause a strain on my back. I have access to my textbook whenever and wherever. Instead of having to flip through pages, I can use the search bar and find all relevant information. It is just the overall convenience of OER that makes it such a great program.

Although OER has been extremely successful thus far, PCCC has come across a few obstacles. One of these obstacles is a lack of awareness regarding OER. Despite the fact that the OER initiative has been going on for a few years now, there are still students that aren’t aware that such a thing exists. Not every class has an OER option available, but PCCC is looking to start remedying that.

“A little over 25-26% of the sections are OER, and PCCC is looking to change that number into 50%,” said Dean Fallon, when asked about the goals of OER.

Through the help of grants, PCCC is on their way to achieving that goal. A grant was given to the college on October 1st for $2.8 million. That money is going towards the Teacher Excellence Project which focuses on faculty development, establishing communities of practice, and developing content, so that potentially all of the college’s content can become OER.


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