Tidewater Community College President Edna Baehre-Kolovani used her guest columnist spot in the Friday, March 7th Richmond Times-Dispatch to talk about TCC’s groundbreaking Z-Degree, the first college degree in the nation that has zero textbook costs. Despite the significant cost savings to students–potentially $3600 per student–President Kolovani also shared the preliminary outcome from TCC’s pilot: the OER courses had higher student retention and comparable grades, and students perceived better course quality and success at meeting learning goals. Additionally, once word got out about the OER courses, the course offerings for spring filled quickly.

Kolovani also made an interesting case against traditional textbooks. She wrote:

Because textbooks are frequently written for broad audiences in the hopes that they will be adopted by large numbers of faculty and departments, they are filled with content that is superfluous to a specific course’s learning outcomes. At best, the faculty member who is focused on content directly supporting the course’s outcomes must skip significant portions of the textbook. At worst, a faculty member may rely on the textbook’s content, not the learning outcomes, to organize and teach a course.

You can read President Kolovani’s the entire R T-D column here.