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Expert TA Announces Strategic Partnership with OpenStax College To Provide Affordable Physics Education

TULSA, Okla., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Expert TA, a national provider of online tools that improve professors  teaching effectiveness while making it easier for students to learn, has announced a strategic partnership with OpenStax College, a nonprofit organization committed to making high-quality learning materials more accessible to students and professors at a remarkably lower price.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121204/CG22117)

"There are no education initiatives more important in our country today than those aimed at producing more graduates in technical fields," said Dr. Jeremy Morton, president and CEO of Expert TA. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions are expected to add 2.7 million new jobs by 2018. To take advantage of that potential, the U.S. needs to step up the current rate of STEM graduates by more than 30 percent, while making post-secondary education more affordable. The partnership between Expert TA and OpenStax College can help to address both."

College costs have been increasing 2 to 4 percent more than inflation year after year, with textbooks representing 10 percent or more of that cost. OpenStax College's e-book texts are free; printed texts cost just $41. Currently textbooks in biology, sociology, and physics are available.

OpenStax College, an initiative of Rice University, is supported by a number of private foundation sponsors including The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. OpenStax textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators and are designed to align with standard course curricula to ensure they meet the scope and sequence requirements of the course.

Expert TA will supplement the OpenStax physics textbook with customizable homework and tutorials for introductory physics courses. Expert TA provides an extensive problem library of original material for Physics I and Physics II classes and is expanding their library with OpenStax College's physics problem sets to offer an even broader compendium that aligns with the standardized physics curriculum.

Completing their homework problems online, students are able to access hints and feedback to help them solve complex physics problems, just like they would if they were working with a teaching assistant or instructor. The OpenStax College textbooks will be hyperlinked to the problems sets; when students need a hint or to review material, a click of the mouse will take them to the right point in the OpenStax text. This opens the door for a more integrated learning experience.

"More than 60 percent of the students who enter college today with the intention of majoring in a STEM field end up in a non-STEM field," Dr. Morton said. "According to a recent report by Lemelson-MIT, almost a third of students surveyed said they weren't prepared at school to seek further education in these areas. That's something we can change. If we can increase the number of STEM students who stick with it by just 10 percent, we can produce nearly 750,000 more STEM graduates in the next ten years. "

Expert TA provides an Internet-based system that helps professors and their teaching assistants (TAs) grade complex assignments. The software is more humanlike in its assessment of a student's work and is capable of granting partial credit for answers instead of a simple all-or-nothing result. This allows professors and teaching assistants to spend less time grading problem sets, freeing up more time to engage directly with students.

"The partnership between OpenStax College and Expert TA is a wonderful example of academia, nonprofit foundations, and the private sector joining together to help hardworking students earn their degrees," said David Harris, Editor in Chief, OpenStax College.

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About Expert TA

Expert TA is committed to building a dynamic online homework grading software for Introductory physics classes with a comprehensive library of original content to supplement a range of texts. Expert TA provides an integrated suite that combines online homework and tutorial modes to enhance student-learning outcomes and meet physics instructors' assessment needs. Expert TA is used by universities, community colleges, and high schools.  www.theexpertta.com.

About OpenStax College

OpenStax College is dedicated to improving access to higher education by lowering the cost of textbooks and high-quality learning materials. We launched in February 2012 with a philanthropic model to offer free, high-quality, peer-reviewed, full-color textbooks for the 25 most heavily attended college courses in the nation. Our books are free online for any student, anywhere, and we partner with companies who provide fee-based products and services that enhance the value of our books for both instructors and students. OpenStax College is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University and is made possible by the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the Maxfield Foundation. For more information, visit http://openstaxcollege.org

Media Contact:

Jeremy Morton Expert TA, 918-978-9695, [email protected]

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