GW Libraries debuts campaign to boost course material affordability – The GW Hatchet

“GW Libraries staff are encouraging professors to adopt and use more affordable course materials through a new campaign.

Gelman Library staff launched a “Postcard Campaign” at the start of this semester to offer students the chance to create cards detailing their struggles with affording textbooks and other course items by showing other items they could have purchased, like food, with the money spent on course materials. Gelman officials said the postcards will raise awareness about textbook affordability and open educational resources, which are free to access and use.

Geneva Henry, the dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation, said staff is asking students to complete postcards at the beginning of the semester about what sacrifices they have made to afford course materials and how the money could have been spent. Staff is promoting the campaign at Gelman and outside the Marvin Center, she said….”

Open, affordable textbook efforts save students $4.8 million in potential costs | Penn State University

“Strategic efforts by Penn State University Libraries faculty and staff over the past three years to lower or eliminate the cost of textbooks and other course materials has paid off — nearly 20 times over — in potential savings for Penn State students….

Funded primarily by Provost Nick Jones with support from Penn State World Campus, University Libraries, Teaching and Learning with Technology, and Barnes & Noble, the initial investment of approximately $245,000 has saved students $4.8 million in potential expenses on textbooks and other course materials. The success from these initiatives has enabled an ambitious three-year plan to be extended to invest an additional $600,000….”

With Student Textbook Savings Nearing $50 Million, SUNY Chancellor to Double Courses Offered with Free, Digital Learning Materials

“Committed to creating universal access to higher education in New York State, State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today announced that SUNY will double the percentage of general education courses offered with Open Educational Resources (OER). Replacing and/or supplementing textbooks in an increasing number of courses, OER are freely accessible, low-cost, predominantly digital learning materials that have saved SUNY students more than $47 million on textbooks since 2017….”

[Open letter from U.S. PIRG to Donald Trump]

“Ensuring immediate access to the latest, cutting-edge research provides critical knowledge that we as students should be able to learn while and school and continue to access throughout our careers. Our education should be based on the latest, groundbreaking information and we should get access right away, not just when our campus can afford a journal subscription or after an embargo period expires. Making federally-funded research openly available to everyone—along with the data needed to validate the conclusions and any corresponding computer code—will significantly expand our access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education….”

Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018

Key findings from the report include: • Faculty awareness of OER has increased every year, with 46 percent of faculty now aware of open educational resources, up from 34 percent three years ago. • For the first time, more faculty express a preference for digital material over print in the classroom. 61 percent of all faculty, 71 percent of those teaching large enrollment introductory courses, and 73 percent of department chairpersons, “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that “the cost of course materials is a serious problem for my students.” • Department chairpersons overwhelmingly believe that making textbooks less expensive for students would be the most important improvement to course materials. • Less than one-in-five faculty members are aware of any departmental-, institution-, or system-level initiative to deal with the cost of course materials. • Faculty are acting independently to control costs by supporting used textbooks and rental programs, placing copies on reserve, and selecting materials based on cost. • Overall faculty satisfaction with required textbooks is high, with over 80 percent either “Extremely Satisfied” or “Moderately Satisfied.” That said, faculty express considerable resentment about price, unnecessary frequent updates, and other issues with commercial textbooks. • Faculty often make changes to their textbooks, presenting material in a different order (70 percent), skipping sections (68 percent), replacing content with their own (45 percent), replacing with content from others (41 percent), correcting errors (21 percent), or revising textbook material (20 percent)….”

Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018

Key findings from the report include: • Faculty awareness of OER has increased every year, with 46 percent of faculty now aware of open educational resources, up from 34 percent three years ago. • For the first time, more faculty express a preference for digital material over print in the classroom. 61 percent of all faculty, 71 percent of those teaching large enrollment introductory courses, and 73 percent of department chairpersons, “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that “the cost of course materials is a serious problem for my students.” • Department chairpersons overwhelmingly believe that making textbooks less expensive for students would be the most important improvement to course materials. • Less than one-in-five faculty members are aware of any departmental-, institution-, or system-level initiative to deal with the cost of course materials. • Faculty are acting independently to control costs by supporting used textbooks and rental programs, placing copies on reserve, and selecting materials based on cost. • Overall faculty satisfaction with required textbooks is high, with over 80 percent either “Extremely Satisfied” or “Moderately Satisfied.” That said, faculty express considerable resentment about price, unnecessary frequent updates, and other issues with commercial textbooks. • Faculty often make changes to their textbooks, presenting material in a different order (70 percent), skipping sections (68 percent), replacing content with their own (45 percent), replacing with content from others (41 percent), correcting errors (21 percent), or revising textbook material (20 percent)….”

Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative. – The Washington Post

“George Mason and hundreds of campuses throughout the country — including American University and the University of Maryland — are slowly adopting open educational resources, materials that are written by academics for the public domain and available at no cost to students and professors.

Max Paul Friedman, a history professor at American, started using open-source textbooks five years ago. Before that, he had been assigning a textbook that cost about $100.

“For some time, I’d been concerned about the high price of textbooks. All of our students are struggling,” Friedman said. “For generations, textbook publishers have enjoyed captive markets of students who don’t have a choice when it comes to what they have to pay for and who have paid fairly high, if not inflated, prices for books.” …

Nearly a quarter of educators who taught introductory courses during the 2017-2018 school year required students to use open-source textbooks, up from 15 percent the year before, according to data from the Babson Survey Research Group….”

Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative. – The Washington Post

“George Mason and hundreds of campuses throughout the country — including American University and the University of Maryland — are slowly adopting open educational resources, materials that are written by academics for the public domain and available at no cost to students and professors.

Max Paul Friedman, a history professor at American, started using open-source textbooks five years ago. Before that, he had been assigning a textbook that cost about $100.

“For some time, I’d been concerned about the high price of textbooks. All of our students are struggling,” Friedman said. “For generations, textbook publishers have enjoyed captive markets of students who don’t have a choice when it comes to what they have to pay for and who have paid fairly high, if not inflated, prices for books.” …

Nearly a quarter of educators who taught introductory courses during the 2017-2018 school year required students to use open-source textbooks, up from 15 percent the year before, according to data from the Babson Survey Research Group….”

Students call for open access to publicly funded research | U.S. PIRG

“On behalf of the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) and the Student PIRGs, nonpartisan organizations representing more than 83,000 citizen members and 600,000 college students nationwide, we write to express our strong support for updating U.S. federal policy to make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. 

The U.S. government spends tens of billions of dollars annually on scientific research. As taxpayers, we invest in this research because advancing scientific progress benefits our economy, our quality of life, and our global competitiveness. However, under current policy, this research is often locked behind paywalls where most American taxpayers—including college students and our professors—cannot access it for at least a year after it is published.

Ensuring immediate access to the latest, cutting-edge research provides critical knowledge that we as students should be able to learn while and school and continue to access throughout our careers. Our education should be based on the latest, groundbreaking information and we should get access right away, not just when our campus can afford a journal subscription or after an embargo period expires. Making federally-funded research openly available to everyone—along with the data needed to validate the conclusions and any corresponding computer code—will significantly expand our access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education….”