Northern Essex Community College is one of just seven colleges in the Commonwealth selected to participate in the Digital Textbook and Materials Pilot program.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently approved a million-dollar grant for the seven schools to access digital textbooks, courseware and materials on the Lumen Learning platform for free.
“In addition to reducing student textbook costs, this national movement is empowering faculty to curate their own educational materials. In a very real way, this enhances faculty scholarship and has the potential of adding value to student learning. I am so glad that NECC is a leader in Massachusetts in this work” says College Provost Paul Beaudin.
Sue Tashjian, coordinator of instructional technology at Northern Essex, is asking faculty about choosing options on the Lumen platform. They have until June to take advantage of the grant, but Lumen will provide free use of the platform for the fall 2023 semester. Lumen also offers a wide range of course materials that are always free, and after the grant period ends, their course platform is $25 per student.
“Lumen offers 50+ courses in almost every academic discipline—especially those taken in the first two years of college. Their College Success course provides new students with skills they need to be successful in college, like goal setting and time management. Modules from this course could be used to complement existing courses,” Tashjian said.
Lumen received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focused on improving educational outcomes for underserved students, which aligns with the Department of Higher Education’s Strategic Plan for Racial Equity and the local work happening at the college.
Northern Essex Community College’s work to remove barriers includes unveiling the college’s first open textbook. Early Childhood Education Professors Doris Buckley and Deirdre Budzyna developed The Whole Child: Development in the Early Years. This book replaces a commercial textbook that would cost students $174. The college’s version is free for educators and students across the country.