How WTAMU Cornette Library is working to provide affordable class materials


Mitchell Downing

“The cost of course materials should not be the factor blocking success and a college degree,” said Taylor Fairweather-Leitch, a scholarly communications librarian at WT’s Cornette Library


It is no secret that purchasing course materials can become expensive for college students. West Texas A&M University Cornette Library has partnered with Open Education Resources to provide more affordable options for students’ textbooks.
The Open Education Resources webpage states that “Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission.”
Professors can use materials that have an open license and fit their curriculum, and these materials would be available to students free of charge.
“Taylor Fairweather-Leitch, a scholarly communications librarian at WT’s Cornette Library, was recently named a Texas Digital Library OER Ambassador,” according to a WTAMU press release.
“OER and open access are game-changers in higher education. You often see students opting out of purchasing a textbook or required reading material because of the costs involved. Students are juggling a lot of expenses like rent, groceries, and gas. So if there is a way to lower the student’s overall cost, even by a little, it can go a long way for student success and satisfaction,” Fairweather-Leitch said.
Fairweather-Leitch will work with professors on finding open options for course materials through OER. This includes materials from the Open Textbook Library, materials that are listed for modifications through Creative Commons, and public domain options.
“I will be taking what I am learning and developing with the ambassador team right to the WTAMU community to assist with the development, sharing, and discovery of OERs. I am here as an advocate for students to push for quality materials that are at a low cost or no cost to them,” Fairweather-Leitch said.
Kelly M. Hoppe, Cornette Library’s head of outreach and instruction, expressed her admiration for Fairweather-Leitch after being named an OER Ambassador. “In this position, Taylor will be able to have a great impact on both students and faculty members,” Hoppe said.
Fairweather-Leitch said that OER will help provide balance to student’s financial stressors as they relate to college.
“By using OER, we are helping ease that financial burden and setting students up for success, ultimately leading to more positive engagement and cost savings. The cost of course materials should not be the factor blocking success and a college degree,” Fairweather-Leitch said.