Mid Michigan College has expanded the availability of open educational resources (OER) to students even further for the Fall 2020 semester. These resources replace traditional textbooks and can be used by students at no cost—leading to significant savings for Mid students.
The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning defines OER as textbooks, classroom modules, lesson plans, video content, and other media that are freely accessible, openly licensed, and adaptable for instructional use.
“Mid’s goal was to reduce the cost of textbooks for students, and OER provided a framework for us to achieve that,” noted Marisa Wier, Associate Dean of Online and Distance Learning at Mid.
The OER effort began at Mid in 2016, and was championed by several faculty members. Fall 2019 saw 120 course sections utilizing OER which resulted in 2,246 students saving a total of $224,600. Over 100 course sections are planned for the Fall 2020 semester to help students save even more.
OER efforts at Mid have saved students over $1.3 million in textbook costs since they began. OER is now active in math, speech, English, Spanish, psychology, physics, astronomy, sociology, and many other courses.
The College also recently announced a new academic pathway, a Liberal Studies Transfer Z-Degree or Zero Textbook Cost Degree. A Z-Degree Pathway utilizes OER in most courses—allowing students to complete their entire associate degree with zero textbook costs. Additional Z-Degree pathways are being planned for the future to expand access to lower cost options for students.
Liberal Studies Transfer degrees prepare students to pursue advanced degrees outside of science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Liberal Studies offers numerous elective credits, transfers easily to four-year colleges and universities in Michigan, and Mid’s pathways are customizable to align with students’ future goals.
“OER is free to students, allowing them to focus on what is most important—their education. Students really appreciate that we understand the importance of keeping costs down. They can spend the money they would use for textbooks on more important things,” explained Wier.