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LTCC instructor honored by ‘20 Million Minds’

Diane Lewis
Special to the Tribune

Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) mathematics and statistics instructor Larry Green, Ph.D was recently honored by The 20 Million Minds Foundation for his efforts in finding and promoting creative ways to combat the high cost of college textbooks.

Green first heard about open-source, free textbooks from a colleague. The concept of free textbooks greatly appealed to him as an alternative for his students at LTCC, some of whom had to drop classes when they could not afford the textbook. Green discovered an OpenStax (OpenStax.org) textbook for one of his classes that uses a ‘flipped classroom’ model, where students watch lectures on their own time but collaborate on assignments in the classroom. OpenStax is a non-profit organization funded by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation that produces free, open-source textbooks for college and high school students.

Open Educational Resources (OER) such as the textbooks created by OpenStax offer a level of collaboration and customization that teachers don’t experience with traditional textbooks, which are finished products sold as is. When Green wanted to include an additional topic in the OpenStax textbook he chose, he went ahead and wrote it, and the additional material was then added to the digital textbook. He’s expanded on that by creating almost 100 instructional videos on YouTube for the class, as well as ancillary study and homework materials.

Green has found that students are overwhelmingly positive about using OER materials. They love that there’s no cost to access them, and although the class content is challenging, students in the class have enjoyed a very high success rate since Green started using OpenStax.


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