Alamo Colleges looks to expand free textbook courses

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Open educational resources help students save money, instructor says.

Janie Medelez

Alamo Colleges was one of the recipients for Achieving The Dream grant in developing faculty adoption of open educational resources.

OERs are free educational materials in the public domain and copyright-free.

The materials range from textbooks to full course modules, syllabi, lectures and classroom activities designed for teaching and learning.

OERs are created and then housed in their own repositories in which materials can be accessed; Corsera, Khan Academy, Merlot, Wikibooks, and OpenStax are some examples of unlimited resources available.

“It’s only been since 2016 that the Alamo Colleges is making a conscious effort to do something to increase the number of faculty toward making use of the OERs,” said English Professor Laurie Lopez Coleman, the OER coordinator.

The most recent promotion was March 4-7 during Open Education Resources Week for an invitation to faculty and students to learn more about OERs.

The four-day event covered topics ranging from how to identify no-cost material, learning how to save money on textbooks, licensing with Creative Commons, and sharing with other educators across the world.

“OER is an international open movement with textbooks, and it’s not just restricted to the U.S.,” she said. “It’s designed to give students access to education and it’s been a movement and going on for decades.”

Students and faculty can legally and freely reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the material with others on the internet.

“If cost is an issue for a student and they want to save money on their books, this is one way a student can save money and pay for an additional class because they didn’t have to pay $200 on books,” she said.

“This is one of the ways we’re trying to help students out.”

Coleman is researching which faculty are using OERs to give to each department administrator and to update in ACES.

Students can find out which classes are tagged as OERs in ACES when looking up their class schedules to register for the semester.

OER courses will be identified as Alamo open, no-cost textbook in the attribution tab when looking up courses.

The courses offered here with OER can be found using the address below. They include biology, chemistry, English, American sign language and speech among others.

For more information on OERs, visit call Coleman at 210-486-0063.


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