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Gov. Jared Polis recognized six higher education faculty and institutions on Thursday for their work in advocating for and providing free instructional materials as part of the Zero Textbook Cost Challenge.

“It’s inspiring to see the progress campuses and educators across Colorado are making in saving students money on textbooks the last few years through the open source educational resources.” said Polis. “We’re excited to see the cost savings for students and pursuit of accessible, equitable and high-quality curriculum for Colorado’s learners.”

The winners and their categories are:

  • Overall Excellence in Open Educational Resources & Practices: Colorado Community College System

  • Outstanding Z Department: School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado

  • Outstanding Z Professor: Emily J. Ragan, MSU-Denver

  • Outstanding Z Program: Instructional Technology Certificates at MSU-Denver

  • Outstanding Z Course: Prof. Medora Huseby, General Microbiology at Colorado State University

  • Outstanding Z Advocate: Marc Nash at Pikes Peak Community College 

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has $800,000 available this fall to help organizations expand open educational resources in public higher education. The grants start at $250 for individuals or small groups and go as high as $75,000 for institutions.

In a report submitted this month to the General Assembly, CDHE noted that the cost of college textbooks has increased four times faster on average than inflation since 1980. The department boasted a $3.9 million savings to students in Colorado over the lifetime of the open educational resources initiative. 

“Researchers note that 1) more than 95 percent of published research indicates OER does not lead to lower student learning outcomes, and 2) most students and faculty who have used both OER and traditional, more expensive textbooks believe OER are of equal or higher quality,” CDHE wrote.

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