The headlines are frightening: “Student Debt Nears One Trillion Dollars,” “College Costs Out of Control,” and “Betrayed by the Dream Factory.” These are not Hollywood blockbusters, but articles written in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Slate.com about the skyrocketing cost of a college education.
A steep increase in textbook prices is a major factor in actual costs to students. A 2015 analysis of Bureau of Labor Consumer Price Index (CPI) data found that textbook prices rose by 1041% from 1977 to 2015. The fears of increasing debt are shared by college students across the U.S. Connecticut College student, Jacee Cox in an article in The College Voice described the “dark and frightening online search” that revealed that in 5 years college tuition will increase to $86,787 per year.
Here at Conn, faculty and staff are working to address the issue of textbook costs by creating programming and material about open educational resources. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or have been released with an open license. In June 2018, librarians at the College formed a group called “OER Explorers” in order to explore programs, funding sources, and support models for adopting Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College. We also considered challenges and roadblocks for faculty and recommended a grant initiative and implementation plan. OER Explorers are advocates for open and accessible course materials at the College and work to share their knowledge of OER with colleagues across campus.
There is now a dedicated library staff member, Ariela McCaffrey, who will act as point person for faculty, offering consultations and workshops for faculty and staff, developing ways to promote OER, and getting support from stakeholders. A presentation entitled “OER and Your Course: Integrating open content into the curriculum” will be held in the Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library from 3-4pm on October 22, 2018.
Find more information on the Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College libguide.
Please contact me if you have questions about OER!
Research Support and Outreach Librarian
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