Teachers should get on board with free textbook program

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL



It’s comforting to know City College plans to do its part in making our college experience more affordable in a world where FAFSA and loans haunt the average student.

The California Textbook Affordability Act will soon work its magic here on our campus. The mission of the act is to get rid of textbooks on college campuses and replace them with online alternatives. This could save students a significant amount of money considering the high price and demand of college-level textbooks.

The Channels Ed Board supports this program as it supports the success of our fellow students.

OpenStax is the organization that provides free educational materials such as books and quizzes on its website. Since staring at schoolwork on a screen commonly turns into surfing the web for distractible students, physical copies of select books are available for roughly $20. This is significantly lower than the prices of physical textbooks that we usually have no other option than to purchase. For the classes that don’t have physical copies available, printing each page of the PDF ends up costing much less than what we are now offered too.

OpenStax offers several levels of math, sciences, social sciences and humanities classes to schools who choose to adopt this online learning system. At City College, departments have to endorse instructional materials like this, then teachers must accept OpenStax as their way of teaching their course.

Some teachers oppose the Textbook Affordability Program because accepting OpenStax means completely changing the lesson plan they have spent years working off of. While we acknowledge that this is a hassle, once teachers update their curriculums to match OpenStax, they will be set with its course material.

Online learning is beneficial to us because of the accessibility it provides students to their course material. There are at least 22 professors on our campus that already use open educational resources (OERs).

Two editors on our team have used OpenStax in their statistics and physics classes. Both enjoyed the way they could pull up their textbooks on their phone and laptop whenever they wanted, rather than having hundred-page textbooks weighing down their backpacks.

We truly appreciate the teachers who’ve made the Textbook Affordability Program a reality at City College and we encourage the rest to get on board too.