June 16, 2016

"A community college reform group has selected a handful of schools in Virginia and Maryland to develop degree programs using open-source materials in place of textbooks, an initiative that could save students as much as $1,300 a year."

Washington Post: Such open educational resources — created using open licenses that let students download or print materials for free — have gained popularity as the price of print textbooks have skyrocketed, but courses that use the materials remain a novelty in higher education. By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

'Achieving the Dream, an education advocacy groups based in Silver Spring, Md., aims to change that by offering $9.8 million in grants to support the development of open-source degree programs at 38 colleges in 13 states.

'Montgomery College Foundation, which raises money for the community college in Maryland, and six institutions in Virginia, including Lord Fairfax Community College, Tidewater Community College and Northern Virginia Community College, are among the schools invited to participate. All of the institutions were selected through a competitive grant process based on their ability to implement open-source degree programs, offer a full slate of courses quickly or scale the number of sections offered to students using the grant money. About 50 percent of the schools already use open-source materials in some classes, while another 20 percent have degree programs that primarily or solely rely on those materials.

'Officials at Achieving the Dream say there are enough open-source materials to replace textbooks in all required courses for degrees in business administration, general education, computer science and social science. Colleges participating in the initiative will focus on those four fields of study to the benefit of at least 76,000 students. The schools will turn the material into a digital library for public consumption.'

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