PCC Offers Zero-Cost Textbook Classes This Semester

Published : Monday, January 8, 2018 | 6:40 PM

Image courtesy PCC Courier via Twitter

Pasadena City College now offers zero-cost textbook classes this winter 2018 semester to make it easier for students to continue their education without having to purchase expensive textbooks and references.

The college has taken action to implement the initiative as part of the College Textbook Affordability Act passed in 2015 by the state legislature to create an option for faculty to teach a course that would not require textbooks, according to the PCC Courier student newspaper.

Beginning at the Winter 2018 intersession, PCC students are able to search the course catalog for classes that only use zero-cost textbooks, the Courier said. The policy applies to not only traditional classes, but also online classes. These classes will utilize only open educational resources (OER) available for free online.

The bill was established to make achieving an education easier for students who find difficulty in affording textbooks.

A study done by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) concluded that prices of textbooks have risen because authors are releasing newer editions and combining editions with software. The higher costs deter students away from purchasing the books, even though students know doing this could hurt their progress. 65 percent of students chose not to buy the books because the price was too high, according to the U.S. PIRG.

“It is important that students’ costs don’t get out of control,” PCC chemistry professor Jared Ashcroft told the Courier about the program. “A survey of students in my class had 29/29 [students] say they prefer the ZCT [Zero-Cost Textbook].Using the OER textbook does not change my class curriculum at all.”

Professor of psychology Jennifer Fiebig said using an OER (Open Educational Resources) textbook “has definitely changed the way I organize and teach a class.” Fiebig said.

Fiebig expressed the issues that can arise with traditional textbooks.

“Inevitably, there were problems, resulting from the bookstore running out of textbooks, books from online vendors like Amazon having backorders, to students waiting until their financial aid check arrived before they could afford to purchase the textbook,” Fiebig said in the Courier interview. “Now, I can start my assignments immediately and basically ‘hit the ground running.’ I truly appreciate this aspect of using OER textbooks as it levels the playing field and it provides all students with the same opportunity to succeed from the first day.”






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