UVA Library, UVA Press Partner to Make Original Scholarship Freely Available | UVA Today

“Students and parents often and understandably object to the high cost of textbooks, and colleges and universities also incur high costs to make academic research in scholarly journals available to students and faculty alike.

It’s a problem that affects everyone – students, researchers and scholars, the colleges and universities where they work, and the public who often have no easy access to the latest studies. A new partnership at the University of Virginia aims to solve these problems and to make new knowledge more readily available – and free.

Called “Aperio,” the new digital publishing partnership between the University Library and University of Virginia Press employs the latest technology to produce what’s called “open access” to research, scholarship and other educational materials – eventually including textbooks. (“Aperio” is a Latin word meaning “to uncover, to open, to make public.”) …”

OER as an Institutional Survival Strategy | Confessions of a Community College Dean

“Shift focus from “tuition and fees” to “total cost of attendance,” and foster the adoption of OER at scale.  Money not spent on textbooks can offset tuition increases from a student perspective, while still allowing needed operating revenue to flow to the institution.

In the right context, done well, OER represents the rare win-win.  A student facing a tuition increase of, say, a hundred dollars a semester probably breaks even with a single course moving to OER, and comes out ahead if two or more courses do.  Tuition may go up, but total cost of attendance — the meaningful number — remains flat or even drops. Even better, OER allows every single student to have the book from the first day of class, which can help with course completion and retention, and therefore enrollment.  (One of the most powerful predictors of retention is GPA. Students with GPA’s below 2.0 drop out at much higher rates than students above 2.0. Not having the book affects academic performance; presumably, having the book may affect it in a positive way.) You can maintain a sustainable funding level for the college, keep costs down for students, and improve retention rates at the same time.

In essence, it redirects revenue from publishers to colleges and students. Yes, that takes a bite out of some commercial publishers, but that’s their problem.  They should have thought of that before charging $300 for an Intro to Physics textbook, or before bundling non-transferable software codes with textbooks to short-circuit the used book market….

I ran some back-of-the-envelope numbers for Brookdale over the last few days, to see how much money OER has saved or will save students in the coming year.  Based only on courses that have already committed to adopting it, we’re looking at over a million dollars per year in textbook cost savings….”

As OER Grows Up, Advocates Stress More Than Just Low Cost | EdSurge News

“Open educational resources hit a turning point in 2018. For the first time ever, the federal government put forward funds to support initiatives around open educational resources, and recent studies show that faculty attitudes towards using and adapting these openly-licensed learning materials are steadily improving….

But fans of OER are increasingly facing a problem. While OER started off as free online textbooks, it still costs money to produce these materials, and professors often need guidance finding which ones are high quality….”

OER Awareness and Adoption on the Rise – SPARC

Key results:

  • Faculty awareness continues to rise, with 46% percent of faculty now aware of OER, up from 34% three years ago.
  • The percent of faculty who use OER as a required course material in at least one course has more than doubled to 13% this year, up from 6% last year.
  • More than a fifth (22%) of faculty who teach introductory courses use OER as a required material in at least one course.
  • Of the faculty who do not use OER, nearly three-quarters (74%) were open to considering it.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of department chairpersons and most (61%) of all faculty “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” that the cost of course materials is a serious problem for their students.
  • For the first time, more faculty expressed a preference for digital course materials (40%) than print (25%). While faculty earlier in their careers tend to have a stronger preference for digital, all career stages showed an increase.
  • The majority of faculty report making changes to their textbooks, most commonly presenting material in a different order (70%), skipping sections (68%), and replacing content with their own (45%)….”

Professors Worry About the Cost of Textbooks, but Free Alternatives Pose Their Own Problems – The Chronicle of Higher Education

When it comes to textbooks, faculty members have a lot of feelings. Many of them negative. But their thoughts on digital coursework and openly licensed materials aren’t any less conflicted.

These opinions, found in “Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018,” a survey of more than 4,000 faculty members and department chairs released Wednesday, paint a complex picture of a fast-changing landscape, one in which instructors and students have more options about course materials than ever before, yet the best path forward remains unclear.

This is the fourth such survey done by the Babson Survey Research Group, and it captures some key trends….

22 percent of people who teach introductory courses, subjects in which free textbooks are most commonly available, use [open textbooks] as required material, up from 15 percent last year. Yet the percentage of faculty members who say they will use, or consider using, open materials in the next three years actually dropped slightly, with the numbers now at 6 percent and 32 percent respectively….”

 

A New Method for Estimating OER Savings

“Earlier this year, SPARC launched a community-wide effort to track $1 billion in worldwide savings through the use of OER, responding to a challenge issued in 2013. At the 2018 Open Education Conference, we announced that the OER movement had successfully reached this important milestone. This is the first of a multi-post series explaining our calculations behind the $1 billion, and what comes next.”

Recapping the year in digital learning

Open educational resources (OER) have been around — and gaining ground — for more than a decade, but 2018 was a turning point in a number of ways. Governments put nearly $20 million toward expanding OER in higher education, including $8 million from New York for the second year in a row, and $10 million from the U.S. Congress.

Similar investments have generated significant returns in student savings, most recently confirmed in a North Dakota state audit that documented savings 10 to 20 times the modest original investment. Worldwide, the savings through OER for students, parents and schools have surpassed $1 billion, according to our calculations.

Also this year, OpenStax announced that its free, open textbooks are used at nearly half of all U.S. institutions, and at least 38 community colleges are establishing degree pathways that use OER in every course. Links between OER and equity are emerging, with a new study from the University of Georgia that found the use of OER was associated with higher grades for Pell-eligible and other traditionally underserved students. Meanwhile, OER is becoming a focal point in mainstream higher education conversations, most recently with an OER implementation summit organized by the regional higher education compacts MHEC and WICHE.

Five years from now, we will still be talking about OER — but not in the way you might think. My prediction is that 2019 is the year when the national conversation about OER shifts from being solely about saving money to leveraging openness to make course materials better. OER has the power to unlock new ways for faculty to exercise academic freedom in the classroom, for students to meaningfully engage with their materials and for institutions to promote the success of all students.”

Why are college textbooks so expensive

Textbook costs overall have risen 67% from 2008 to 2018 – some four year college students spend close to $500 a year on textbooks.

Almost 80% of the textbook industry is dominated by five publishing companies – Pearson Education, Scholastic, McGraw-Hill Education, Cengage Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

These companies do everything they can to keep their books expensive and prevent students from renting older versions….”

Self-publishing, Open Textbooks and Open Practices at The University of Manchester – UK Open Textbook Project

“I spoke to Lucy May, Scholarly Communications Librarian (@UoMLib_Lucy), and Helen Dobson, Scholarly Communications Manager (@h_j_dobson), based at The University of Manchester, about open access publishing at the University and the interest they’d received from students in self-publishing journals. 

The University of Manchester Library has explored its relation to publishing over the past few years through a number of university projects, which have resulted in collaborative outputs involving both Manchester University Press (MuP) and other university departments.  In Spring 2018 MuP launched Manchester HIVE, a one-stop-shop to e-resources available via the University and host of Manchester Open Library (MoL) content.

Previously both the library and MuP had supported MoL which provided a platform for open access journals produced at the University, including the James Baldwin Review….”