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Open educational resources saved WVU-P students $140K

PARKERSBURG — Students at West Virginia University at Parkersburg have saved more than $140,000 through the use of no-cost and open educational resources in 38 courses, the school said.

Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials freely accessible or released under an open license for free-access use. Online education materials are important, especially to community colleges, to decrease the cost of traditional textbooks.

“The benefit of creating and providing OER courses are shared among students, faculty, the college, parents and so many more,” said Dave Thompson, a professor and chairman of the WVU Parkersburg Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences. “Easy access, low costs, diverse instruction methods and user-friendliness are a few of the most valuable features.”

Students have saved $140,860 during the 2019 to 2020 academic year, the school said.

Thompson uses text, videos, articles, PowerPoint presentations, discussion blogs and interactive apps into his open educational resource courses. Using various media and teaching methods gives students of all learning styles materials that align with their interests and promote learning.

Using sources including OpenStax and Lumen, instructors can borrow entire textbooks, student evaluation rubrics, digital media links and class discussion topics.

Thompson also follows Quality Matters guidelines. Quality Matters is a nationally-recognized program offering educator training, assessment techniques and course peer review to ensure assignments created by instructors are purposeful, engaging and assess students’ skills and competencies.

“User friendliness and reduced frustration should also be achieved by making a course easy to understand and navigate,” said Thompson. “This means having no access codes to be purchased or accounts created so course content is available on the first day of class.”

WVU Parkersburg will continue investing in open educational resources for students to be not only more beneficial in adapting to learning styles, but to reduce the cost of attending college with less textbook purchases.

“Investing in our own faculty’s development of OER means WVU Parkersburg will continue to be more affordable for students,” said Provost Chad Crumbaker. “Textbook costs should not be a barrier to a student’s education and success, and we commend the efforts of our faculty to eliminate these cost barriers through OER wherever possible.”

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