Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, recently partnered with Amazon with the intent of saving its students money on everything from soup to textbooks. Now, the institution is working to take textbooks out of the equation altogether, or at least some of them.
The university is hoping to save geometry and calculus students up to $1 million by expanding its use of the Learning Online Network with Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (LON-CAPA), according to a report in The Lafayette Journal & Courier. Professors can use the open education resources (OER) that make up the LON-CAPA program instead of textbooks or the university’s WebAssign program, which offers online lessons and grades assignments based on content from major publishers and can cost more than $100 per course.
Purdue’s biology department has been using LON-CAPA since it was developed by Michigan State University in 1992; physics, chemistry, and political science are also using similar programs. With 4,500 students enrolled in geometry and calculus, Purdue will be among the first to launch the program on such a large scale.
“It used to be a student could get by maybe without buying a book or buying a used book or sharing a book,” said Frank Dolley, vice provost for teaching and learning. “Now, these courses have access codes. You have to have the code to get into the class because you have to have that system to submit your homework. The students are somewhat trapped.”