The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announced that the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) received its 2020 “EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award” for significant achievement in outreach and academic programs in community college libraries and learning resources. The award is sponsored by EBSCO Information Systems, the nation’s leading provider of research databases and services to the library service industry.
CCCS’s award entry titled “Colorado’s Top 40: Curating Open Educational Resources (OER) Content for the Top 40 Guaranteed Transfer Pathway Courses” removes the need for costly textbooks and improves educational outcomes.
OER is one important way that CCCS is lowering costs for students and changing the way Coloradans experience college. Pueblo Community College and Pikes Peak Community College – two colleges within the Colorado Community College System – have replaced commercial textbooks with OER with no negative outcomes to student success. Multiple studies confirm that OER can increase students’ course grades and decrease their withdraw rates.
Through innovative initiatives like OER materials, more and more CCCS students won’t have to purchase textbooks, making postsecondary education within reach for more Coloradans.”
“We are thrilled to be recognized by the ACRL for our efforts,” said Joe Garcia, CCCS chancellor. “Our tuition rates are already significantly lower than the average cost of a 4-year university, but for many students that still isn’t enough to make college affordable. Through innovative initiatives like OER materials, more and more CCCS students won’t have to purchase textbooks, making postsecondary education within reach for more Coloradans.”
CCCS innovation in OER wasn’t only recognized for its positive impact on Colorado students. “The CCCS OER project has already converted the top 40 Guaranteed Transfer Pathways General Education Curriculum classes to OER materials. In a few months, all materials will be posted online for anyone at any college to use and adapt for their own courses. The award committee determined that the impact of CCCS’s efforts will be felt well beyond Colorado in the upcoming months and has the potential benefit students, faculty, and librarians nationwide,” ACRL said.
The 84 OER courses offered by CCCS are fully transferable within the community college system and to another colleges and universities. Currently there are three Z-Degrees offered at CCCS where a student can graduate without ever having to purchase a textbook. Nearly 40% of CCCS students system-wide are enrolled in an OER course.