Page 37 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
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To help your students reduce the cost of their education, begin with open educational resources. Many of these textbooks won’t cost them anything.
By Dian Schaffhauser
Open has become a definite thing. Accord- ing to the latest public accounting, there were nearly 1.5 billion Creative Com- mons-licensed works in the world available for use in teaching and learning, including whole courses, textbooks, images, videos, quizzes, syl- labi, lectures, homework assignments, labs, games and simulations. Given that abundance of materials, it would be no surprise if you were to feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start your search for free curriculum to use in the courses under your care. To help out, Campus Technology has developed this list of the best sites for obtaining free (and low-cost) digital textbooks.
4 Major Players
This one ought to be called the OER Mother- ship, since you couldn’t do much better than to begin your OER content search here. A program begun by the California State University sys- tem, MERLOT has grown beyond its roots as a portfolio of learning materials (almost 84,000 different items, all highly filterable) to encom- pass OER communities; a content builder plat- form (with hosting); and an assemblage of 23,000 “bookmark collections” set up by users who gather resources from the collection orga- nized by theme, topic or label.
What we like: Filter by “Open (Access) Text- book” and you’ll find nearly 7,000 options culled from recognizable sources (OpenSTAX and Amazon) as well as individual authors who have contributed their work. What’s nifty is that the content often includes an “editor review” and a “user rating” — from zero to five stars.
Lumen Learning
Content from Lumen comes in three forms: Candela, which offers “extremely affordable” digital books with text, video, interactives and other types of content, covering 37 courses at last count — each of which can be edited to allow the instructor “to shape the content” to 37
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