Bay College Plans "Free the Textbooks" Rally

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Bay College will hold its third annual “Free the Textbooks OER Rally” on Wednesday, October 17, from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in the Student Success Center (the “HUB”). The event, featuring free food, soft drinks, and prizes, is being held to bring awareness and energy to Bay College’s open educational resources (OER) degree initiative.

OER are alternatives to publisher-provided textbooks, software, and other course materials, which are often very costly to students. OER reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. The shift to OER can save students large sums of money--potentially thousands of dollars--over the course of their college careers. Most OER are free digitally and very low-cost in print form.

Thanks in part to an OER Degree Initiative grant received in 2016 from a consortium of investors that included the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bay College now offers a path for students to complete an entire Associate in Arts degree by taking courses using OER. Currently, 35 Bay College courses are using OER, and 6,131 students have taken courses using OER since the fall of 2016, saving them over $600,000 in textbook costs.

The shift to OER not only saves students money, it also invigorates teaching. Using digital and interactive open educational resources such as open courseware, encourages faculty to teach students in more engaging and dynamic ways while inviting students to become more actively involved in their own learning. OER does not totally eliminate printed textbooks but minimizes the cost to the student as printing costs are much less and content more tailored to each specific class.

The “Free the Textbooks OER Rally” is open to the public. Community members are welcome to find out more about how OER can make college more affordable for everyone. For further information about OER or the rally, visit www.baycollege.edu/oer or Email Joseph Mold moldj@baycollege.edu.

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