Building on several years of work with free textbook development, the state’s community college board has created a website that highlights the best available free- and low-cost textbooks and other educational resources from around the country.
The website is called OPEN Washington, and its aim is to help professors and college instructors find free or low-cost online textbooks, videos, curricula and other resources from a wide variety of sources.
It was created by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).
Along with everything else in higher education, textbooks have zoomed in price in recent years; some studies suggest that the average college student spends as much as $800 to $1,000 per academic year buying textbooks. And students are often stuck with books that they can’t sell back to the bookstore because versions change from year to year.
The argument against free books, though, has been the lack of quality control. That’s where OPEN Washington aims to help.
“The value of the new site is that it provides a one-stop center for instructors and anyone else to find open resources and use them effectively,” said Mark Jenkins, SBCTC director for eLearning and open education, in a statement. “OPEN Washington gives us the means to represent the best of what’s out there in OER (Open Educational Resources) and to provide help and resources for both new and experienced instructors committed to teaching with it.”