Kathy Moore, Professor, Department of Mathematics
OER has become a new buzz word in Community College education. OER (Open Educational Resources) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching and learning. The Mathematics department at Santiago Canyon College has been using OER materials in a few of their classes for over four years. All of their distance education classes are now taught entirely using OER texts.
Most of the Mathematics full time faculty and some of the part-time faculty have used an OER textbook. I began using an OER textbook and free software system MyOpenMath in Fall 2015 in my Intermediate Algebra classes. For the past year, I have taught
all my classes using OER materials. Many of these textbooks have full teacher resources such as Powerpoint lectures available as well. The students like saving the cost of a regular textbook and I find they often will buy a printed version, while other stidents use the download copy of the textbook to do their homework.
The Mathematics department currently has 4 courses (Beginning Algebra, Elementary Algebra, Math for Liberal Arts, and Pre-calculus) that exclusively use an OER text. They have 4 other classes (Intermediate Algebra, Statistics and Calculus I/II) that are piloting the use of an OER text and will have textbook committees look at the possible adoption of these texts for Fall. OER texts vary widely in their quality and close look at all the available textbooks is important before adopting a new text. They have found that the quality of these textbooks and the paired resources has been increasing steadily over the past years.
With some Math textbooks costing over $200, the students appreciate the savings when they are told that they can use a free book that is available in PDF and can be downloaded. Most OER books can be downloaded and printed, read on-line or our bookstore can obtain printed versions for the students at greatly reduced costs. OER appears to be the wave of the future.
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