Free or low cost textbooks accessible to all students

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Open Educational Resources is offering students at Glendale Community College a way to save a substantial amount of money on textbooks.

Students can access these resources by visiting the Maricopa County Community College District website and clicking on the “Find a Class” button at the bottom of the website.

On the left-hand side of the screen there are various search options such as semester choice or general selection. At the bottom of all options is a blue drop-down menu with additional search options. Click the menu and scroll until “Misc. Search Options” shows up. Select the box that reads “No cost or low cost (<$40) textbooks”. After selecting box, all classes displayed on the right-hand side of the screen will only appear if it has low or no cost textbooks. Under class notes, it will mention it as well.

According to new faculty resident of Glendale Community College, Christine Jones, OER is a way “…to offer the students the opportunity to have the same information without paying huge amounts of money for a textbook every semester.”

Over 2,500 of these types of classes are offered through MCCCD. Glendale Community College provides 450 classes throughout 166 different courses.

OER has been helping MCCCD since 2013. When first introduced, the goal was to help save students $5 million in five years. The program grew significantly and was wildly successful. By the five-year mark, it had saved students over $11 million.

This program is provided in several other community colleges and universities across the United States. It assists students in international colleges as well. According to Jones, some schools even offer complete degrees with all classes having low or no cost textbooks.

“It’s the worst kept secret on campus,” Jones said. OER has been a system in place to help students and teachers alike, yet Jones feels that not many people know it exists in the first place. She hopes the committee in charge of running it will grow into something that everyone on the GCC campus knows about.