Saving money with electronic books

An initiative to help Tulsa Community College students with the cost of textbooks has expanded this semester to reach an estimated 2,500 students.

TCC partnered with OpenStax, a Rice University-based nonprofit publisher, in the summer of 2016 to boost the use of free online and low cost textbooks across TCC courses.

In one year, the partnership has grown to include more than 50 TCC faculty and more than 100 sections of general education courses including Psychology and General Biology. Based on fall 2017 projections, TCC’s anticipates more than 5,500 students a year will enroll in courses that use a free online or reduced cost textbook saving them $575,000 each year.

“The partnership with OpenStax means real savings to our students and helps make college more affordable by reducing the financial burden associated with textbooks,” TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson said.

OpenStax uses open educational resources to provide high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks. This past summer, TCC Biology professor Dusti Sloan used OpenStax for her Human Physiology classes and saw a tremendous benefit for her students.

“I have students that are single parents and students that are working full-time jobs. OpenStax provides a valuable resource for both the student and the instructor at an invaluable price – either free online or a low cost book,” said Sloan. For example, the Human Physiology book through a traditional publisher cost $170 at the Campus Store compared to $57 for the OpenStax book.

TCC was selected as one of 11 colleges in 2016 to participate in the OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program. Jennifer Kneafsey, associate professor of biology at TCC is the coordinator of TCC’s participation in the OpenStax partnership.

“We are really proud of the fact that every section of Chemistry I and Engineering Physics I and II at TCC is using an OpenStax book, which means some of the most expensive textbooks are now available for free online or a reduced cost,” said Kneafsey. “Plus we have a number of sections of Physiology and Biology for Majors using an OpenStax book as well.”