“We estimate that, for every coordinated class of 200 students, we save them a combined amount of about $15,000”
James Wilson is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University with a track record of employing open educational resources to improve access and affordability in his courses. Colorado State is a large public institution that serves a diverse population with many first-generation and low income students. Wilson is always seeking high-quality affordable course material options in an effort to serve these students and encourage diverse enrollments in STEM fields.
According to Wilson, one of the biggest drawbacks to OERs is quality. Often, using open resources implies a lot of extra work for instructors who have to adapt the content to suit their needs. The challenge then is accommodating low-income students while reducing strain on instructors and their busy schedules.
By partnering with Lyryx for Linear Algebra courses, Wilson’s students gained access to quality edited digital textbooks that can be downloaded and used for free and kept in perpetuity. Additionally, the low-cost online homework system is integrated into the text and can be accessed at no cost with Free Lab.
Before partnering with Lyryx, the standard Linear Algebra textbook used at Colorado State University retailed for sometimes well over $100 per semester with online grading adding at least another $40 to the cost. Now students have access to their homework at no cost in campus computer labs, and while most choose to pay the $39.95 fee to gain access from home or elsewhere, the total course material cost in Wilson’s courses has been reduced by a third. “We estimate that, for every coordinated class of 200 students, we save them a combined amount of about $15,000” says Wilson.