OpenStax Saves TCC Students Thousands of Dollars in Textbook Costs

September 12, 2017
An initiative to help Tulsa Community College students with the cost of textbooks expands 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, Ph.D. 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 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. The goal of the partnership is to provide support and help increase the use of OpenStax textbooks or other open educational resources. 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.”

As TCC enters the second year in the partnership, Kneafsey will work to support faculty currently using OpenStax materials and continue to expand the use of OpenStax textbooks with a focus on business and social science disciplines.