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MCC Offers Use of Open Education Resources

November 11, 2018

Middlesex Community College is offering the use of Open Educational Resources, or OERs. The online course materials -- including lectures, homework assignments, quizzes and labs --are copyright-free or have a license that allows for free reuse and redistribution.

Enrolling in courses using OERs can translate into considerable savings for students, according to Donna Maturi, coordinator of library services. MCC students saved $134,590 in textbook costs over the 2016-17 academic year through the use of OERs, she said.

MCC is part of the Massachusetts Community Colleges Go Open initiative, which is supported by the GPSTEM project funded by a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. Formed in 2016, Go Open encourages the state’s 15 community colleges to share resources and best practices in the use of OERs.

“Our community colleges are acutely aware of how the high cost of textbooks can affect whether a student takes a course,” said Peter Shea, MCC’s director of professional development.

According to The College Board, students pay an average of $1,168 annually for books and course materials -- that’s a 73 percent increase since 2006. That figure hits community-college students particularly hard, since many are supporting families and living on tight budgets, Shea said. It can cause some students to drop out, not enroll in certain courses, or take a class without buying the textbook -- which leaves them at a serious educational disadvantage.

For more information about Open Educational Resources, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/professionaldevelopment/oer.aspx .

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