Sherry Ridge Brings Four Business Textbook Costs to Zero

Sherry Ridge

When Sherry Ridge's students registered for her business classes online and saw the notation for No Textbook, they thought it was an error. She told them it’s true. In fact, she succeeded to bring four business textbooks to a cost of zero in an effort to help students save money and improve the quality of their education.

She was among 44 college-wide textbook camps faculty who collaborated to reduce costs in more than 30 course projects and replace them with open educational resources (OERs) and other materials for select classes. For example, no student in Introduction to Business (BUS 150) will pay for a textbook, which means the 300 students enrolled in these courses will save a combined annual savings of $30,000. The savings is similar for other business classes.

“Our goal is to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, textbooks, and still provide sources that are accurate and timely,” said Ridge, who has taught business classes at MCC for 11 years, including eight years as an adjunct instructor.

The college-wide effort to continue providing high-quality instruction while saving students money from the burdensome cost of textbooks began in 2016 with the creation of the Textbook Ad Hoc Committee, which is co-chaired by MCC President Clint Gabbard, Ph.D. and Julie Freelove, business instructor.

Gabbard said the textbook cost reductions have resulted in over $1 million in annual savings to MCC students in a variety of subject areas, including business, horticulture, fitness, geology and speech.

Since participating in all three Textbook Cost Reduction Camps on MCC’s campus since May 2017 to explore economical textbook options, Ridge said she found that many of the internet resources include flexible copyright licenses, such as Creative Commons, which allow copying, printing and adapting at no cost.  “Students can load the OER course content on their computers, jump drives, tablets or phones,” Ridge said. “It’s exciting. I love it when students realize that they don’t have to pay for a textbook.”

In addition, Ridge said she created a repository for some of the business courses that she and other instructors can access for discussions, quizzes and PowerPoints to choose from for their classes. Ridge said research alternatives to textbooks is time-consuming, but rewarding. “It’s liberating, fun and scary at the same time,” Ridge said. “The best part is when students thank us for taking the initiative to help them with education costs. You have to be dedicated to finding the best materials and resources you can and take time to update them as time goes by. It’s a lot of work in the beginning if you are going to do it right, but so worth it.”

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