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CUMBERLAND, Ky. Some students at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) are getting a little bit of a break on textbook costs, thanks to OpenStax College.

The chemistry students in Dr. Wheeler Conovers classes on the Cumberland campus and in Rajiv Singhs classes on the Middlesboro campus, along with students in Dr. Sue Greer-Pitts sociology classes on the Whitesburg campus and Dr. Joe Johnsons physics classes on the Middlesboro campus all have access to the online materials.

The OpenStax texts are available for free VIA a web browser or a PDF download to a computer. The text can even be viewed on a smartphone.

Theres no need for a textbook, usually costing over $300 new and $200 used for two semesters. Said Dr. Conover. Even if a student prefers to order a hard-bound copy, the cost is only $55 for two semesters. After discussing it with editors at OpenStax, I decided that this is the way to go. My students are glad, too.

OpenStax College is able to provide this service through funding from several organizations, including Rice University.

My Sociology 101 students seem to find the book interesting and well organized. However, they aren't always comfortable with having to read on a digital screen. Said Dr. Greer-Pitt. With the downloadable PDF, they do not have to be logged into the internet to read assignments, although many of them prefer to use the web links I provide in Blackboard so that they can go directly to the specific sections of the book that are relevant to each lesson.

Jason Forson, who teaches physics and astronomy on the Cumberland and Whitesburg campuses, uses services similar to OpenStax, with online based materials and reduced cost hard-bound books. Those resources are available for use through a Creative Commons license.
With my current arrangement a student can download the book for free and get a physical copy for about $20. I have had students flat out tell me that with using Creative Commons license textbooks, their child doesn't have to go hungry that semester.

If a student decides they want the hard bound book for any of these courses at the reduced cost, they are available in the bookstores on the Cumberland and Middlesboro campuses.

Other instructors are looking into using the resources in their classes in the coming semesters.

Photo caption: Students in Dr. Wheeler Conovers chemistry classes have the option to get their textbooks online for free through OpenStax College.

Textbook Cost