TEL offers free resources and affordable courses to keep students on track

TEL Education launched in 2017 with the mission to make a quality college education affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time. Earlier this year—before the coronavirus pandemic caught American students and the U.S. economy in its grips—TEL announced its Courses-on-Demand program, which allows students to take self-paced courses from anywhere in the United States. And the cost? Just $44 a credit hour.

“There is a cure to the college cost disease,” said TEL founder and President Vance Friend in a recent essay. “Self‐​paced online means that college costs can be radically reduced. While residential college will remain more expensive than online, its cost can be also be radically reduced by moving to blended delivery over pure face‐​to‐​face, and mixing in some self‐​paced online courses.”

With COVID-19 keeping students out of residence and lecture halls, TEL quickly pivoted, launching another program, Learn Together!, which provides free learning resources to high school and college instructors, students, and families during COVID-19.

“As events began to unfold, we worked with our partners to explore how we might offer free learning libraries to support people around the country,” explained Executive Director Dr. Rob Reynolds. “In the end, we determined that the best solution would be to create branded resource sites for institutions that they could distribute through their own networks.”

Each Learn Together! Site features a complete set of free, openly licensed content for 15 general education courses.

TEL’s resources quickly have had an impact on schools and students, including Pawhuska Public High School in rural Oklahoma. TEL serves 23 students at the school, roughly 25 percent of the school’s junior and senior classes, who are enrolled in eight different courses. Each of these learners was able to remain active in their courses despite the state lockdown and school closure.

“While traditional education suffered disruptions, students at Pawhuska stayed on track and had the support to do so,” explained Reynolds. “Having access to TEL tools meant all students were able to easily continue their online college courses.”

TEL also recently announced TEL Learning, which makes materials available to any individual looking to supplement current courses or personal learning, including students, instructors, librarians, homeschool parents, and lifelong learners. TEL Learning currently features 16 courses, ranging from English composition to college algebra and chemistry. TEL President Vance Fried said TEL Learning “gives everyone free access to all our content in both e-text and pdf formats.”

Use of TEL Learning materials does not require one to register or provide any personal information. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to access and use our courses and course materials,” Reynolds explained.

Click here to learn more about the Charles Koch Foundation’s partnership with TEL Education.