Columbus State Community College's Affordable Learning Initiatives

Columbus State Community CollegeColumbus State Community College’s Textbook Affordability Advisory Committee collaborates to identify strategies which lead to significant savings for our students.  This cross-functional group has worked to reduce student textbook and course materials cost by $5.9 million dollars from the committee’s inception through September 2017.  One important piece of the committee’s plan is bookstore price negotiations with publishers as well as the expanded purchasing of used textbooks through open-source buying.  Further, Columbus State’s bookstore has reduced its margins on high-priced textbooks and offers used calculators for purchase.  Bookstore cost-reduction strategies are only one piece of Columbus State Community College’s overall plan to make college materials affordable. 

When possible, Columbus State Community College’s academic departments coordinate course materials so that the same book need only be purchased once to cover a course series. For example, foreign language course series lend themselves nicely to using one text across multiple courses.

Columbus State Community College was a 2017 grantee of the Straight A Fund from the Ohio Department of Education.  With the funding, Columbus State and its partners Southwest City Schools and Westerville City Schools collaborated to reduce textbook cost for our College Credit Plus students Straight A Fund while improving access to in-demand pathway courses.  Faculty used open educational resources and instructor-generated content which were then digitally enhanced to create iBooks to be used in the pilot schools for select College Credit Plus courses, ten in all.  After evaluation, the courses may be expanded to other high schools.

In a separate effort, Columbus State’s Digital Education Instructional Support department in conjunction with Library staff have assisted faculty in course digitization projects which will significantly reduce or eliminate textbook and course material costs.  Open educational resources and faculty-created content are used in this initiative. Among the course digitization projects in progress are computer science, business ethics, biology, chemistry, and a number of health and human services courses.

  • Advocacy Initiatives: A rotating series of four Open Educational Resources workshops is offered to Columbus State Community College faculty and staff each semester at the main campus library.  Columbus State has a dedicated OER Librarian who presents the following workshops:
  1. Introduction to Open Educational Resources
  2. Search, Selection, and Use Strategies for Open Educational Resources
  3. OER Adoption Process
  4. Understanding Open Licenses

    One important aspect of the OER workshop series is to encourage faculty to use not only openly-licensed material, but also library-licensed material.  The Columbus State Community College Library also has a resource-rich OER LibGuide which offers faculty and administrators research, tools, news, and links to many OER portals and repositories. Additionally, the Columbus State Library has a number of library-owned course textbooks available on reserve for students to use on site. The Library plays a key role on the Textbook Affordability Advisory Committee.
  • Adoption/Creation Initiatives: The Columbus State Community College OER Librarian is available for consultation and support for faculty who wish to reduce or eliminate textbook costs by using open educational resources. For those faculty who wish to search on their own for OER, the library’s LibGuide offers a place to begin the search both by subject and from an alphabetical list.  The Library works in conjunction with the Distance Education Instructional Support staff to ensure that faculty wishing to adopt OER or create their own digital learning objects and course materials have the tools, knowledge, and support that they need.

    Columbus State Community College supports a course digitization initiative for which faculty grantees not only digitize their course, but also replace commercial textbooks in the process.  Both OER and faculty-created content are used in this initiative.

    Faculty from Columbus State Community College are participating in the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s OER Innovation Grant. Our faculty serve on cross-institutional OER content teams for the following courses: American Government, Intro to Psychology, Intro to Sociology, and Writing. We also have a librarian serving as a consultant to the psychology content team.

    Finally, Columbus State is preparing to launch an internally funded OER grant program where both individual faculty members and teams of faculty will receive incentives to adopt, adapt, or create open educational resources.
Contact Information: Rachel Dilley, Open Educational Resources Librarian,, (614) 287-2895