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OER Proves a Valuable Resource as New Milestone is Achieved

May 28, 2024

image of a green open laptop displaying an illustration of an open textbook text reads Open Educational Resources

Since launching in 2016, Delta College’s Open Educational Resources (OER), an initiative that provides free access to course materials, has saved students over $2 million in textbook fees.

OER are textbooks and other course materials that are licensed Creative Commons and are freely available online to use, share and modify.

Michele Pratt, manager of Library Programs and Services and OER Committee co-chair, said the effort has been a tremendous help in keeping costs down and contributing to student success at Delta. The largest single-semester savings with OER was Fall 2023 at $362,600.

In an anonymous survey, many students shared their experiences with additional OER benefits, “As an adult learner, [OER] greatly improved the accessibility of this course and college in general. I was able to do my homework at school, work and home without having to purchase and haul around a textbook. I wish all courses used this textbook format.”

The OER initiative at Delta is a campus collaboration that includes representatives from the academic divisions, Bookstore and Student and Educational Services. Delta is a member of the Open Education Network and coordinates efforts with Michigan Colleges Online.

“The textbooks are written for faculty by faculty,” said Laura Dull, professor of history and OER Committee co-chair. “Housing the course materials online allows faculty from across the country the freedom to adapt the course readings and textbooks from year to year, making it more relevant and timelier for students. And in using these free online teaching materials, I’ve been able to include more diverse voices and stories, not typically available in traditional publisher texts, into my history courses.”

As of Winter 2024, 132 faculty members from various departments across the college are using OER, and that number is increasing every semester.