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….”

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….”

Open Matters: A Brief Intro | New England Board of Higher Education

“In late September 2019, I joined NEBHE as its Open Education Fellow to help build upon the grassroots efforts that have been underway for years in the Northeast aiming to lessen the burden that textbook costs place on higher education students and their families. Like so many of my colleagues doing this work day in and day out, I’m passionate about breaking down this very real barrier to student learning and success. Many people still have only a vague sense of “Open Education,” so I’d like to share some thoughts on what it is and why it matters.

I recently attended my third Open Education Global Conference in November 2019 at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy. As always, I returned home from the conference, feeling inspired after engaging with colleagues from around the globe who are doing amazing things to make education more equitable and attainable for students.

The final conference keynote delivered by Cheryl-Ann Hodgkinson-Williams of the University of Cape Town in South Africa defined “open education” as an umbrella term that encompasses the products, practices and communities associated with this work. The common term that represents the products of Open Education is OER (Open Educational Resources)….”

Law Professors Make Their Textbooks Free, Hoping to Ease Students’ Financial Burdens | Washington Square News

“Law textbooks, which can cost up to $300, take up only a small fraction of NYU School of Law students’ $66,000 tuition. Still, they are an expenditure that three professors hope to help students save.

Professors Barton Beebe, Christopher Sprigman and Jeanne Fromer have eliminated the costs of two required textbooks for trademark and copyright law classes — “Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook” and “Copyright Law: Cases and Materials” — which normally cost around $200….”

Law Professors Make Their Textbooks Free, Hoping to Ease Students’ Financial Burdens | Washington Square News

“Law textbooks, which can cost up to $300, take up only a small fraction of NYU School of Law students’ $66,000 tuition. Still, they are an expenditure that three professors hope to help students save.

Professors Barton Beebe, Christopher Sprigman and Jeanne Fromer have eliminated the costs of two required textbooks for trademark and copyright law classes — “Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook” and “Copyright Law: Cases and Materials” — which normally cost around $200….”

An Interview with Hal Plotkin on Evolving OER from an Idea to a Movement and Beyond – Michelson 20MM Foundation

“Hal Plotkin is a writer, journalist and activist. He served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education during  the Obama Administration. Previously, Plotkin served on the Board of Trustees at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, based in California’s Silicon Valley, where in 2003, he initiated the first official college governance policy in the United States requiring administrative support for the use of public domain learning materials, which later became known as open educational resources. From 2014 to 2017, Plotkin served as the Senior Open Policy Fellow at Creative Commons USA. He is currently a consultant to the national College Promise Campaign, based in Washington, D.C.,  and a consulting scholar at Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, based in Paris, where he helps design and implement efforts to expand access to post-secondary education. …”