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OER Classes - Attend Class W/O Paying For Books

Updated: May 3

In the first few days of Nursing classes education resources are thrown at students at a rapid-fire pace. Once we adjust to our course and familiarize ourselves with the materials it starts to all fit together, but one of the materials that was given to me that I did not appreciate until more recently was the OER. OER of course stands for Open Educational Resources, a name with an explicit purpose shrouded by a commonly accepted acronym. OER materials are freely available works of informative writing, videos, models etc that serve to level the access to education even to those who cannot afford it.



An Example of a Nursing OER


History:

The OER movement's beginnings are often traced to a strategic plan put in motion in 2002 by the Education Program of the Hewlett Foundation. Officers from the program were unhappy with the state of the free exchange of information the burgeoning world wide web afforded students in k-12 and secondary education, and crafted a plan to “use information technology to help equalize the distribution of high-quality knowledge and educational opportunities for individuals, faculty, and institutions within the United States and throughout the world.” (Atkins, 2007)


This is the most exciting use of the internet in my mind, and not too dissimilar to Wikipedia (albeit with a bit more quality control.) In a world where the internet is routinely not living up to it’s lofty promises, large monopolistic tech companies sell data to advertisers, the increased space in which radical polarization is fostered, and the various crimes of Facebook, this free exchange of information offers liberation for people who see the value of education.


How Does This Effect Students:


MATC's OER Student Ambassador Naomi Omoruyi says "MATC students choose MATC because we want quality education without the financial hassle. Many of us have other financial responsibilities and welcome opportunities to save money and put it towards other things. OERs don't make the bookstore pointless; they create a cheaper yet still quality option"

This program is important to our more immediate experience as students at MATC, as more classes utilize these open educational resources, the fewer textbooks that you as a student are on the hook to pay for. Every pathway has many OER materials available and can save students an average of $200 per textbook. You can choose classes with OER in MATC Self-Service.


  1. When searching for classes in Self-Service, click on the Catalog Advanced Search




2. Under the Select Course Type drop down menu click on "Low Cost Books" or "No Cost Books" and then search for classes that you need as you normally would (class name, subject, etc) and you will be offered only classes that offer OER materials.


3. (Optional) Students who prefer printed materials are able to have their OER printed at the Bookstore for a small fee.


Students should be aware of the resources available to them, and be vocal in their desire for more affordable education. Currently the textbook market is free from the regulations of a traditional marketplace, as consumers are not empowered to “shop-around” for a product that best fits in with their budget. Textbooks are assigned by programs, and students are responsible for their cost if they intend to finish the course, but the cost of these textbooks are so great. MATC already has a number of these resources available, but they can and should be expanded to include entire programs. Recently in one of the talks given by a finalist in the MATC Presidential search, there was talk of a community college of similar size with entire programs in which their program was taught using Open Education Resources, and I believe that we can also make that a reality here.


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