Redlands instructors (l-r) Erin Karl, Elise McCauley and Kristin Winterrowd are easing the financial burden on students by incorporating the use of free course materials and e-textbooks in some of their classes. Their efforts have earned them grants from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for creating or adopting openly licensed, zero-cost textbooks.
In an effort to alleviate some of the college expenses for students, faculty at Redlands Community College are committed to identifying free course materials. Three instructors were recently awarded grants by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for creating or adopting openly licensed, zero-cost textbooks, saving students hundreds of dollars.
History instructors Erin Karl and Kristin Winterrowd and liberal arts instructor Elise McCauley received $1,000 stipends for each course they were able to identify and adopt a free education resource in place of a traditional textbook.
“I am so proud of our faculty for pursuing these opportunities that will make a major impact on our students, many of whom hold down part-time or full-time jobs to stay on track to earn a degree,” said Redlands President Jena Marr. “It is important to also evaluate our courses and course material to make sure we are providing a strong, applicable education experience, and giving students free access to learning materials is a step in the right direction.”
Many general education courses, such as U.S. History and Fundamentals of Speech, are required at most colleges and universities. At Redlands, nearly 30 courses use free e-textbooks or course materials, and many of those are required classes. Several departments offer courses that use free e-textbooks, including English, history, humanities, allied health, political science, psychology, speech, art and philosophy.
“Open-source materials not only ease the financial burden for students, but they also give instructors the ability to enrich and customize educational content,” McCauley said. “We appreciate the support and encouragement of the State Regents and our college leadership to pursue these resources that will enhance the learning experience.”