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)….”

Teaching note: Creating open textbooks for social work education

Abstract:  Open educational resources (OER) and the open education movement have blossomed over the past decade, yet their demonstrated impact on social work is in its infancy. This teaching note describes the process of creating the first two open textbooks for social work education about undergraduate and graduate research methods. In the first year post-publication, the undergraduate open textbook was used by over 1,100 students across 35 campuses and accrued an estimated savings of $150,000 for students. Despite these clear benefits, the process of resource creation for faculty can be challenging, and this note offers practical guidance for faculty considering both small or large-scale open textbook projects. As universities, states, and international bodies increase funding for the creation and adoption of OER, the field of Social Work should demonstrate its commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice by leading these efforts within our classrooms, discipline, and institutions.

 

Saskatchewan Government Investment Saves Students Money | News and Media | Government of Saskatchewan

“The Government of Saskatchewan is providing a quarter of a million dollars to save students money on their textbook purchases.

The innovative approach supports professors and instructors at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina to develop open textbooks and other open educational resources for students.  The initiative is expected to save current and future students at least $6.4 million with the resources developed so far….”

It’s time to get serious about open educational resources | Times Higher Education (THE)

“For universities, the business case is compelling. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey indicates that a $32,000 (£26,000) investment saved its students $1.6 million over two years. At Ontario Tech, we had a professor receive a standing ovation from his students when he announced that a certain expensive astronomy textbook was to be replaced by open educational resources.

At their best, OERs allow faculty and students to build course material in much the same way as developers build open code or open software. Everything is shared. Collective insights can be captured for future students in a virtuous cycle of learning and improvement….

But there are four primary challenges that need to be overcome before the movement can really take off….”

Why do college textbooks cost so much? 7 questions answered

“Colleges and universities have been active in promoting and developing affordable textbooks, including Open Educational Resources, more commonly known as OER. Open Educational Resources are educational materials – often in digital form – offered freely and openly for anyone to use.

The use of OER has saved students around the world over a billion dollars, and the vast majority of those savings have been reaped by students in the United States and Canada. Research has shown that students using OER do as well as or better than students using traditional course materials, with even better results for less financially secure students….”

Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE)

“Open government data is a powerful tool for economic growth, social benefit, and scientific research. This global resource must be developed and managed in ways that meet the needs of the people and organizations that use it.

CODE brings together data providers and data users to develop better strategies that serve stakeholders and their common goals. 

CODE, founded as the Center for Open Data Enterprise, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to maximize the value of open government data as a resource for economic growth, social good, and scientific research….”

The Economic Impacts of Open Science: A Rapid Evidence Assessment | HTML

Abstract:  A common motivation for increasing open access to research findings and data is the potential to create economic benefits—but evidence is patchy and diverse. This study systematically reviewed the evidence on what kinds of economic impacts (positive and negative) open science can have, how these comes about, and how benefits could be maximized. Use of open science outputs often leaves no obvious trace, so most evidence of impacts is based on interviews, surveys, inference based on existing costs, and modelling approaches. There is indicative evidence that open access to findings/data can lead to savings in access costs, labour costs and transaction costs. There are examples of open science enabling new products, services, companies, research and collaborations. Modelling studies suggest higher returns to R&D if open access permits greater accessibility and efficiency of use of findings. Barriers include lack of skills capacity in search, interpretation and text mining, and lack of clarity around where benefits accrue. There are also contextual considerations around who benefits most from open science (e.g., sectors, small vs. larger companies, types of dataset). Recommendations captured in the review include more research, monitoring and evaluation (including developing metrics), promoting benefits, capacity building and making outputs more audience-friendly.

Significant economic benefits? Enhancing the impact of open science for knowledge users | Impact of Social Sciences

“A key political driver of open access and open science policies has been the potential economic benefits that they could deliver to public and private knowledge users. However, the empirical evidence for these claims is rarely substantiated. In this post Michael Fell, discusses how open research can lead to economic benefits and suggests that if these benefits are to be more widely realised, future open research policies should focus on developing research discovery, translation and the capacity for research utilisation outside of the academy….”