Samantha Le: UMass should speed up transition to open education resources

Published: 3/16/2022 4:13:51 PM
Modified: 3/16/2022 4:13:11 PM

With the predicted 2.5% in-state and 3% out-of-state tuition spike for 2023, UMass Amherst is continuously making higher education more inaccessible. Along with housing and dining price increases, students are financially burdened with just the process to come on campus, let alone the additional costs of textbooks, access codes, and homework site subscriptions.

With around 66% of students skipping out from buying required resources for their classes, it is becoming increasingly clear that many students are losing out from their academic experience not out of choice but financial circumstance.

This is why the university transition to open education resources (OERs) must happen now. Professors would be able to provide their students with free access to digital course materials, approved and reviewed by educators in the same field and free to customize to individual courses. Just within UMass, the use of OERs has saved students over $2.5 million, a number projected to increase with the ongoing push for more professors to transition.

Creation of OERs also provides a unique opportunity for team-based community learning, allowing professors to work with students on compiling and creating learning resources for future semesters while incorporating diverse perspectives on teaching methods.

Student debt plagues all college students, and we are calling for more professors to transition from paid publishing companies to open education materials, as creating paywalls to learning resources prevents student engagement with their academic career. Student success and college affordability go hand in hand, and it is only with OERs that we can start breaking down obstacles to effective and affordable learning.

Samantha Le

Amherst


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