Daily News

Grant Aims to Reduce Textbook Costs for HCC students 


HOLYOKE — With the help of a federal grant, Holyoke Community College is continuing its efforts to make college more affordable and inclusive by increasing the use of free Open Educational Resources (OER) in place of costly textbooks in its classrooms. 

HCC is part of a consortium of six state colleges, along with the state Dept. of Higher Education, sharing a $441,367 grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The three-year grant project aims to boost the number of college courses that make use of Open Educational Resources. 

The project — Remixing Open Textbooks through an Equity Lens (ROTEL): Culturally Relevant Open Textbooks for High Enrollment General Education Courses and Career and Professional Courses at Six Public Massachusetts Colleges — will test the hypothesis that underrepresented students will achieve higher academic outcomes if colleges use free, culturally-relevant course materials that reflect their experiences. 

Open educational resources, or OER, are teaching, learning and research materials that are not protected by copyright and readily available in the public domain for free use, duplication and distribution.

Framingham State University is the lead partner in the project. The other colleges taking part are HCC, Fitchburg State University, Northern Essex Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, and Salem State University. 

“We are excited about the project’s potential and outcomes for our students,” said Millie González, interim dean of Framingham State’s Whittemore Library and the lead project manager. “We will track performance measures, including numbers of courses, sections and faculty using new OER materials, student grades and satisfaction in those courses.”