HOUSTON – San Jacinto College is one of nine schools selected to participate in Rice University’s 2018-2019 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to further the College’s efforts in providing free to low cost, peer-reviewed digital textbooks and course resources through open educational resources (OER).
OER are openly-licensed, peer-reviewed digital classroom materials and textbooks that faculty can use and adapt to fit their course’s student learning outcomes. These materials are free or low-cost alternatives to traditional textbooks. According to the College Board, for the 2017 – 2018 academic year, the average student was budgeting between $1,220 and $1,420 for textbooks and course supplies, making textbooks one of the largest barriers to student success and credential completion.
“San Jacinto College has taken instrumental strides to break down barriers to student success, textbook costs being one of them,” said Tonja Conerly, San Jacinto College OER project director and sociology professor. “From day one OER has resonated with our students. They are thrilled to be saving money with OER materials, and our faculty are continuing to enhance their courses, partner with their peers and develop their own materials through the variety of unique sources OER has to offer them.”
The 2018-2019 participating OpenStax institutions are: Arkansas State University, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Palomar College, San Diego City College, San Jacinto College, Santa Monica College, Thomas Nelson Community College, University of Missouri System and William Rainey Harper College. These institutions, chosen from among 31 applicants, will begin working with OpenStax to develop institution-specific strategic plans to encourage the use of OER on their campuses. These colleges and universities will join 37 other institutions, representing 200 colleges and universities and more than 2.6 million students, in taking part in the effort to expand the use of OER at their institutions.
“We’re very excited to work with a fellow Houston area higher education institution to drive awareness of alternatives to high textbook costs and solutions to limited resource access for both students and faculty,” said Nicole Finkbeiner, OpenStax associate director of institutional relations. “San Jacinto College is an integral part of helping Houston residents be successful in their educational goals, and this joint effort will encourage even more student success.”
In spring 2017 San Jacinto College piloted 30 sections of OER courses, branded as “Open Books” courses, with 768 students enrolled. To date, the College has saved students more than $1.5 million in textbook costs, and Open Books course offerings have increased to 676 course sections College-wide taught by 130 faculty members with more than 15,879 students enrolled in Open Books courses- a 1,920 percent increase since the College’s OER initiative began.
Find out more information about OER at San Jacinto College.
OpenStax is a nonprofit based at Rice University whose mission is to improve student access to education. Its first openly licensed college textbook was published in 2012, and its library has since scaled to 29 books for college and AP courses used by hundreds of thousands of students. OpenStax’s adaptive learning technology, designed to improve learning outcomes through personalized educational paths, is being piloted in college courses across the country. Through partnerships with philanthropic foundations and its alliance with other educational resource companies, OpenStax is breaking down the most common barriers to learning and empowering students and instructors to succeed.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.