American college students have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss of income from family and part-time work due to layoffs and closed businesses has created a double whammy of poverty and emotional stress. Students have borne the brunt of pandemic-related financial difficulties with little support from federal or state governments. In addition to paying tuition and fees to their cash-strapped colleges and universities, students must purchase or rent textbooks that exacerbate their financial condition or add to their indebtedness. To alleviate some of the economic burden of students in my online courses and to save them extra money that they can use for other life necessities, a zero-textbook policy was implemented and Open Educational Resources (OER) were used instead. OER resources serve a very important equity purpose. They provide students with a diverse array of literature and expose them to the most updated research on the topics under study without spending their limited resources on expensive books.
The session examines the implementation process of OER in the three online courses, evaluates the benefits of OER for online students, and presents some solutions to the issues related to OER in online teaching and learning.