Interest money

Delta’s REL Initiative Takes Another Milestone

A Delta College initiative to save students money and provide free access to course materials has reached a new milestone.

Since 2016, Delta’s Open Educational Resources initiative has saved students a total of $1 million in textbook costs. OER are textbooks and other course materials licensed under Creative Commons and are freely available online for use, sharing, and modification.

Michele Pratt, manager of library programs and services and co-chair of the OER committee, said the effort has begun to contribute to student success. Students saved over $142,000 in the winter 2022 semester alone.

“We know a lot of students are financially constrained and one of the things they’re cutting is textbooks,” Pratt said. “Often they don’t realize they need a textbook until it’s too late. With OER, everyone has a textbook from day one because it’s free and online. »

Laura Dull, history professor and committee co-chair, said OER is a national movement.

“Textbooks are written for teachers by teachers,” Dull said. “Hosting course materials online allows teachers across the country to freely adapt course readings and textbooks from year to year, making them more relevant and timely for students. students.

The OER initiative at Delta is an on-campus collaboration that includes representatives from academic divisions, bookstore, and student and education services. Delta is a member of the Open Education Network and coordinates efforts with Michigan Colleges Online.

Early adopters

Sociology was the first discipline to adopt the use of open educational resources in Delta. It started with Donna Giuliani, professor of sociology, and expanded to include a group of faculty members who wrote textbooks for several sociology courses.

Giuliani said the ability to modify textbook content to suit her students’ interests is particularly appealing.

“We can look at things from macro and micro lens,” Giuliani said. “For example, we can look at global poverty and stratification and then bring it down to the local level, so I can keep things relevant in the textbooks year after year.”

Today, Dull said, about 65 faculty members from science and math to criminal justice and psychology use OER, and that number is growing every semester.

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Written by Leah Twilley, Communications Specialist.