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McHenry County College faculty meet about helping students save money on textbooks

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College students can expect to see savings in textbook costs during the upcoming school year thanks to faculty members who participated in a one-week Textbook Cost Reduction Camp.

An estimated $400,000 total savings in textbook costs per academic year is expected, according to a news release from the college.

Both full-time and adjunct faculty members participated in the camp to find more economical textbook options for students.

The camp, held in May, went over training on Creative Commons licensing, intellectual property, accessibility, instructional design and open educational resources, which are free teaching and learning materials available online for instructors, students and self-learners. Open educational resources can include textbooks, software, presentations, case studies, videos, pictures, simulations, games and tests.

“The camp was an excellent opportunity for faculty to improve the quality of their courses by incorporating new technologies, digital resources and their own expert materials into courses,” said Julie Freelove, co-chairwoman of MCC’s textbook ad hoc committee. “These changes will not only improve course quality but reduce the cost of textbooks for MCC students.”

Freelove said the $400,000 in cost savings was determined by looking at the costs of old textbooks, comparing that to more economical textbook options and multiplying the total cost savings by anticipated enrollment each year.

Multiple MCC departments were involved in the textbook camp, including the Business, English and Computer and Digital Media departments.

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average of the most expensive textbooks that were bought in spring 2016 was $145. NACS also found in a 2015-16 report that students spent an average of $67 a textbook.

Freelove said that the total textbook costs for transfer degree programs can range from $2,000 to $3,000 for the entire degree.

“Textbook costs can vary tremendously, whether you’re going for a certificate, whether you’re going for a degree – or it can vary by instructor,” Freelove said.

Meri Winchester, MCC web development and programming instructor, said she aims to keep books less than $50 when practical, and she uses as many free resources as possible.

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