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PSU Students Get Opportunity to Take Classes without Textbooks;Piloting Open Educational Resources

Updated:
 Traditional textbooks are getting competition in this digital age.

Pittsburg State University  is piloting classes that do away with them altogether.

Graduate student Tyler Henderson says, " I just studied for a test and I was the only person who had the textbook open.  Everybody else was just using their notes."

That's because of the cost of textbooks.

Brenda Frieden, the director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology says, "I would say average would be about one hundred and fifty dollars and up from there."

Rion Huffman, a graphics and imaging professor who also serves on the Open Educational Resources steering committee says,  "Some student will drop out cause they can't afford it (textbooks). We're  trying to get over that roadblock with OER."

OER,  it's what some call a quiet revolution. The use of open educational resources.

 Frieden says, "A lot of people tend to think it's just open textbooks.  But it can be any type  of digital resources that  are open access to the public."

PSU will use OER in four business classes this fall including marketing, a general ed classes students  must take. Not buying a book will save money.

Evan Deuvall says, "Easily a couple hundred dollars."

PSU piloted several OER classes since 2013 and surveyed students.

Frieden says, “They felt like the information  was more relevant, more up to date, more tailored  to that particular course. It wasn't  just a canned series of content."

 It's not just  a benefit for students.  Teachers  say they have access to more resources this way.

Huffman says,  "Just because a publisher says a book is good, doesn't mean that it is."

And Frieden says with OER, "You have a lot of collaboration  from faculty all across the world,  compiling information, putting it into repositories, making it accessible."  

The Axe librarian is also creating an online repository with links to open textbooks, complete courses or projects.

Creative Commons is a place to find them licensed for sharing.

Huffman says, " The wonderful thing about OER for educational purposes is that if something goes out there and it has something wrong  with it, its open for others to fix it . So we can refine that material and hone it into our specific classes."

Knowledge without big  book costs to the students.

PSU is working with Lumen Learning to test the effectiveness of OER and several faculty members worked to create OER curriculum.

     For more information on PSU's OER pilot program you can find a link by clicking here.
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