The Open Course Library is a state-sponsored program that was recently launched in the state of Washington by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges in order to help public college students save money on textbooks, activities, and other course materials. The program is a collection of high quality educational materials for 42 of the state’s highest-enrolled courses and it is expected to expand to 81 courses by 2013.
- All curriculum created through the program is free, digital, and shareable around the world.
- Faculty from anywhere can copy and customize the materials for their own courses, and only require that the Open Course Library is attributed credit for their work.
- If a course still requires a textbook or other resource, the cost of those materials cannot exceed $30 per student.
The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) released an informal analysis of the Open Course Library in conjunction with the launch announcement. Their study claimed that by using these materials instead of traditional textbooks, the 42 courses will save students $1.26 million during the 2011-2012 school year. The projected savings already exceed the $1.18 million spent to create the courses. When the program expands to 81 courses, and if every instructor in the state decides to use the materials, the savings could skyrocket to $41.6 million annually.