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38 Community Colleges to Begin Replacing Textbooks With Free Educational Resources

Thirty-eight community colleges will take part in a new effort that involves replacing commercial textbooks with free educational materials. The open-educational-resources project, which is being coordinated by Achieving the Dream, a network for community-college reform, is expected to bring the free materials to at least 76,000 students in the next three years.

Proponents of open resources say that the use of the materials could save students as much as $1,300 in textbook costs per year, or about one-third of the expense of a typical associate degree. Some advocates even consider open resources “a social-justice issue,” contending that the use of such materials can be especially valuable to low-income students, who sometimes don’t buy textbooks at all because of their cost.

The new effort is backed by grants totaling $9.8 million from several foundations, and is likely to give another boost to the growing movement for open educational resources, or OER.

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