Press Release  06/05/18

LYNCHBURG, VA — The cost of textbooks has risen to a level that rivals tuition as the highest expense for students and families.  To help offset this burden, several faculty at Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) adopted an innovative approach to replace expensive textbooks with quality learning materials that are openly licensed and free to adopt and re-purpose.  The effort began in 2015, when the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and the Hewlett Foundation supported the redesign of high enrollment courses using Open Educational Resources (OER). Coincidentally, in its 2018 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed HB 454, which requires the governing board of each public institution of higher education to implement guidelines for the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources.

In 2016, CVCC and 37 other community colleges nationwide received the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative grant to boost college access and completion by engaging faculty in the redesign of courses and degree programs through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources. As a result, in the past two years, CVCC students have saved close to $250,000 in textbook cost.  Now in its third year, the CVCC OER program has re-designed over 30 courses, most of which require no cost for textbooks or other learning materials. The textbooks are accessible online (html), on mobile devices (epub) and can be printed (pdf). In addition, most hardcopy textbooks are available for purchase at about a quarter of the cost of the commercial textbook.   

CVCC is currently redesigning three OER degree programs: Certificate in General Education, AA&S General Studies, and AA&S Science. The 30 or so OER courses support these degree programs and align with the Guided Pathways Initiative. Students may be able to complete these programs now without spending much on textbooks. However, the college encourages but does not require any faculty to teach with OER. Therefore, some sections of an OER course are still using traditional textbooks. To choose an OER section, students can preview the course listings online and check off the OER button to display all OER sections of the course. 

For more information on the OER initiative, students should talk to their CVCC academic advisor, direct their browser to, or call the CVCC library at 434-832-7750.  

Interested parties may also contact Professor of Humanities & Social Sciences, Cynthia Lofaso at 434-832-7783, or Professor of Science, Math & Engineering, Juville Dario-Becker at 434-832-7719,