OpenStax to vastly expand open education library with support from national foundations

“OpenStax, Rice’s educational technology initiative, is vastly expanding its library of free textbooks, working toward a goal of ensuring that no student ever has to worry about textbook costs again. This work is possible as a result of new grants totaling $12.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation and the Stand Together community….”

OpenStax textbook revisions, updates, and improvements – OpenStax

“In the years since OpenStax published its first textbook, our offerings have matured and our platforms have evolved. We’ve done our best to listen to our adopters and work with our authors to develop a balanced updating, improvement, and revision strategy.

OpenStax revises books, creating formal new editions, only when it is pedagogically necessary to do so. The process is extensive and requires significant resources. Between new editions, we make updates and improvements based on errata submissions, suggestions from adopters, ideas from contributors, and specific reviews for diversity and representation. Below I’ll outline the approach to each.

First, a brief overview of our development process: OpenStax textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they align to the coverage and sequence of their respective courses, keeping in mind common learning outcomes and points of emphasis from academic communities and discipline organizations. Our development process includes thorough editing, careful review, and detailed quality assurance measures. Then, after a book is published, we begin the process of maintaining and improving it.

And second, as discussed below, the online view of the book — as opposed to the PDF or other formats — is the one we recommend because it is always the most up-to-date, the most accessible, and includes features such as notetaking and highlighting. Also, the OpenStax course cartridges, available for several learning management systems, link directly to the online and most updated version….”

OpenStax – SPARC

“OpenStax began just over two decades ago as a repository of open educational resources (OER) called Connexions where faculty around the world could publish, share, and remix educational materials. In 2012, it rebranded and started publishing its own line of free, peer-reviewed textbooks as a nonprofit educational initiative.

Since then, 9 million students have used OpenStax books saving them nearly one billion dollars. Its books have been adopted in 6,900 schools and used in more than 100 countries. This spring, an estimated 3.2 million students and 24,000 faculty are using use the books – with the volume increasing by 50 to 100 percent every year.

For its work as a leader in the open education space, driving awareness, embracing diverse voices and helping make college more affordable, SPARC has recognized OpenStax with its February 2020 Innovator Award….”

How a University Took on the Textbook Industry | EdSurge News

“This kind of free online textbook was novel in 1999 when Rice professor Richard Baraniuk started gathering them online for students and faculty around the world to use. As demand for low-cost, high-quality materials increased during the Great Recession, the nonprofit project shifted from curation to creation, publishing its first five free textbooks in 2012.

Today, OpenStax—part tech startup, part publishing house, part cognitive science research lab—has a library of three dozen titles. By the nonprofit’s estimates, more than half of U.S. colleges use at least one. And some credit it for helping kick-start a trend—now known as open educational resources, or OER—that has sent shockwaves through the traditional publishing industry….”

BNED and OpenStax Partner to Expand OpenStax Catalogue of Open Educational Resources | Business Wire

Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (NYSE: BNED), a leading provider of educational products and services solutions for higher education and K-12 institutions, today announced a deeper partnership with OpenStax™, the Rice University-based publisher of open educational resources (“OER”). Beginning Fall 2019, OpenStax will include the Business Law textbook from BNC OER+ (formerly known as LoudCloud Courseware) in its catalog of open educational resources, which are available to all educators at no cost. The expanded partnership between the companies for such content collaboration will further drive affordability and accessibility for students nationwide….”

Open-access chemistry textbooks gain popularity

“In October 2018, the US Department of Education gave LibreTexts, an OER portal based at the University of California, Davis, a $4.9 million grant to develop free, open textbooks in targeted subjects, including chemistry. The goal for the chemistry materials is to develop resources that will enable schools to offer an ACS-approved bachelor’s degree with zero cost for textbooks. ACS evaluates programs to determine whether they meet the guidelines established by the society’s Committee on Professional Training. The consortium developing LibreTexts includes 11 institutions beyond UC Davis, plus the California State University system. The consortium and its predecessor, ChemWiki, previously received funding from the US National Science Foundation….

Professors who want to use LibreTexts can use the existing materials as is, or they can mix and match the various textbooks available to make their own. The consortium currently contains 61 chemistry textbooks, 58 of which are in English and 3 of which are in Spanish.

Brett McCollum, a chemistry professor at Mount Royal University, in Canada, adopted LibreTexts for one section of his general-chemistry class in 2015. After a successful trial run, his department adopted it for all sections of both semesters of general chemistry the following year….

Rather than linking to existing LibreTexts pages, McCollum replicates those pages on his own course pages within LibreTexts and edits them to fit the focus of his class. “Having that freedom to tailor the book was really valuable to me,” he says….

McCollum envisions a future with most OER development funded by governments. In Canada, most provinces already have an OER initiative, he says. “Canada sees this as an important path forward for equity and for enabling students from diverse backgrounds to engage more fully in higher education,” McCollum says. “We have a vision of sharing nationally and internationally” the materials from the OER initiatives….

One thing that differentiates OpenStax from commercial publishing is the OER provider doesn’t need to constantly release new editions of its books to keep ahead of a used-book market. OpenStax books are available free to students electronically or for a nominal cost if a student prefers to have a printed version….”

2.2M Students Used OpenStax Free Textbooks in 2018

OpenStax, a nonprofit based at Rice University that publishes free online peer-reviewed textbooks, reports that more than two million students at U.S. colleges used at least one of its textbooks during the 2017-2018 school year. The nonprofit also estimates that students saved $177 million using the free textbooks in the 2017-2018 year. The increased use of of OpenStax textbooks comes as the AAP reported that sales of higher education course materials fell 7.2% in 2018.

According to OpenStax, its textbooks are in use at 48% of U.S. colleges and were used by 2.2 million students in 2017-2018. OpenStax textbooks, which are part of the larger Open Education Resource movement for free educational resources, have been used by more than 6.2 million students since it began publishing its own textbooks in 2012. OpenStax has published 32 free textbooks….”