Local college receives grant that helps students save

ESCANABA — A local community college has received a grant that will advance a program that helps students save thousands of dollars.

Bay Community College received a $100,000 grant from Achieving the Dream to continue to propel its Open Educational Resources program. The program challenges instructors to toss out the typical traditional text book and redesign their courses by looking at resources that are openly licensed.

“It allows faculty to re-think the course. Sometimes a course has been traditionally tied very closely to a text book or a publisher’s content,” said English Faculty Member Todd McCann. “This frees up that and puts the faculty’s objectives first, allows faculty to be more nimble so they can make changes quickly, even semester to semester, and personalize the content.”

The reading materials for OER classes are typically free online but are also available at a reduced price in the bookstore. With full-time community college students spending $1,300 per year on text books, the savings add up.

“Open Educational Resources not only saves students money, but it has also been proven to increase student success,” said Director of Online Learning Joseph Mold. “Students that take these classes have a higher completion rate, have higher “C” or better rates, they have lower withdrawal rates and higher satisfaction rates.”

The grant allowed the creation of three degree pathways taught completely with OER.

Students pursuing degrees in General Education, Mechatronics and Robotic Systems and Business Administration will see the change by fall 2018.