Community colleges pilot textbook-free courses
- Several community colleges in Virginia and Maryland are piloting courses that provide open-source learning materials instead of requiring textbooks, an initiative that officials say will save students almost $1,300 per year.
- The seven participating two-year schools are working with education advocacy group Achieving the Dream to offer free course materials in business administration, general education, computer science and social science.
- More than 100,000 students in Virginia's community college system are enrolled in open-source courses, with student savings in excess of $3 million and contributing to increased retention and graduation rates.
Open-source academic materials will soon be the new standard for learning tools, replacing costly textbooks with low resale value and are highly inconvenient to students. While community colleges are pioneering the access, four-year institutions will have great expense in trying to launch similar programs.
Creating open-source agreements with thousands of publishing houses and authors and digitizing millions of volumes of texts is no easy process, and it isn't cheap. Seemingly, colleges and universities will have to work to phase in open-source technology and work for grants to support the digital conversions.
- The Washington Post College courses without textbooks? These schools are giving it a shot.