Automatic Textbook Billing Contract Library – SPARC

“SPARC created the Automatic Textbook Billing Contract Library as a resource for advocates and institutions to understand the legal agreements behind automatic textbook billing. Known by brand names like “Inclusive Access” and “First Day,” these programs charge the cost of digital course materials directly to each student’s tuition and fee bill, often without confirming their consent. While vendors say this model provides access, many students think it limits their options. Colleges and universities have a responsibility to prioritize the needs of students—not vendors—and that starts with reading the fine print….”

Affordable Accessibility – UTC Magazine

“Fleming, scholarly communications librarian and coordinator of the UTC Library Affordable Course Materials Initiative, says those thoughts and actions evolved beyond ensuring internet access. A growing number of faculty were committed to making class resources and necessities more accessible to all students. 

She says faculty are now more committed to finding ways to get students the best, most affordable resources. “We had a huge increase in interest that’s persisted about creating affordable materials for students,” Fleming adds. …”

It’s Time for Open Educational Resources

“Yet, in far too many cases, we are still requiring very expensive textbooks in our classes. Over the degree program, students are expending thousands of dollars for texts that many sell back to the bookstore for less than half of their original value. Much of the material embedded in the texts is either already available freely online or could be assembled by the instructor from open-access sources. At the same time, many instructors still complain that the text does not precisely fit their needs; they skip chapters and assign additional readings to update the material in the text that is already one or two years out of date before the book hits the students’ desks. Why not just create your own texts and update them as often as is needed?

During the first three semesters in COVID times, awareness of open educational resources (OER) has surged among faculty members. Faculty members who put their classes online through remote learning discovered more fully the range and timeliness of relevant materials that are available online. In a study by Bay View Analytics, sponsored by the William and Flora Hewitt Foundation, it was found that faculty who adopted OER rated their materials superior to the commercial alternatives, and while the percentage of required OER materials did not increase, the percentage of supplemental OER materials did….”

UCF Keeping ‘Opt-In’ Model for Digital Course Materials | University of Central Florida News

“The University of Central Florida and its supplier of textbooks and other course materials, Barnes & Noble College, offer a program called First Day, which provides discounted digital course materials to students enrolled in many courses. This semester, students who participated in this program saved an average of 48%.

Currently, UCF students must “opt-in” to participate in this program. Last year, state law changed to allow universities to choose either an “opt-in” or “opt-out” model for these discounted course materials. Under an opt-out model, students would automatically be enrolled in this program and would have to manually opt-out to avoid charges being added to their student accounts.

UCF is not changing its current opt-in model. The opt-in model requires students to manually choose to participate in the program and receive discounted course materials….”

Faculty Survey on OER: Perceptions, Behaviors, and Implications for Library Practice

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION The Mary Couts Burnett Library at Texas Christian University (TCU) seeks to learn more about university faculty members’ perceptions and behaviors related to open educational resources (OER), and to identify one or more initiatives to increase adoption of OER at the university. METHODS The researchers sent a survey to all university faculty using Qualtrics™, and 104 persons responded. The survey used a combination of multiple-choice and free-text questions, and covered OER adoption and creation by faculty members, their perceptions of OER, and recommendations related to possible initiatives to increase OER interest. RESULTS Among respondents, almost half used OER either currently or in the past, while a fifth created their own OER. When comparing OER to traditional textbooks in terms of being scholarly, the majority indicated that OER and traditional textbooks were about the same level, but a quarter of faculty indicated that traditional textbooks were more scholarly. When asked about initiatives the library could pursue to increase faculty OER creation, the leading responses included financial support of faculty using OER, along with training opportunities. DISCUSSION The researchers were pleased to see that many faculty have used OER either currently or in the past, and that many had positive views surrounding OER. The researchers now have data that support the establishment of OER initiatives. CONCLUSION The survey informs the TCU Library and academic libraries in general. Two initiatives that libraries should consider are establishing an OER training program for faculty and developing a grant program to support faculty members who are adopting or creating OER. Libraries should collaborate with other units on campus such as the center for teaching excellence or the faculty senate.

 

Faculty Survey on OER: Perceptions, Behaviors, and Implications for Library Practice

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION The Mary Couts Burnett Library at Texas Christian University (TCU) seeks to learn more about university faculty members’ perceptions and behaviors related to open educational resources (OER), and to identify one or more initiatives to increase adoption of OER at the university. METHODS The researchers sent a survey to all university faculty using Qualtrics™, and 104 persons responded. The survey used a combination of multiple-choice and free-text questions, and covered OER adoption and creation by faculty members, their perceptions of OER, and recommendations related to possible initiatives to increase OER interest. RESULTS Among respondents, almost half used OER either currently or in the past, while a fifth created their own OER. When comparing OER to traditional textbooks in terms of being scholarly, the majority indicated that OER and traditional textbooks were about the same level, but a quarter of faculty indicated that traditional textbooks were more scholarly. When asked about initiatives the library could pursue to increase faculty OER creation, the leading responses included financial support of faculty using OER, along with training opportunities. DISCUSSION The researchers were pleased to see that many faculty have used OER either currently or in the past, and that many had positive views surrounding OER. The researchers now have data that support the establishment of OER initiatives. CONCLUSION The survey informs the TCU Library and academic libraries in general. Two initiatives that libraries should consider are establishing an OER training program for faculty and developing a grant program to support faculty members who are adopting or creating OER. Libraries should collaborate with other units on campus such as the center for teaching excellence or the faculty senate.

 

LSU librarians selected by LOUIS to create the Interactive OER for Dual Enrollment program | LSU Libraries News & Notes

“Four LSU librarians have been selected by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network to join a cohort of 25 librarians from across the state to work alongside instructional designers in order to foster the creation of the Interactive Open Education Resources (OER) for Dual Enrollment program, which will aim to improve the quality of the dual-enrollment program and expand its availability for more high school students. This program was made viable by a two-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Open Textbooks Pilot program….”

UW universities lowering costs by using public domain textbooks

“UW-Eau Claire is attempting to transform the cost of higher education by offering textbooks and other teaching materials for free.

Materials required for college courses often run students hundreds of dollars per semester. The university hopes to help students with the cost of a degree using open educational resources, or OER….”

There’s big problems with the market for academic ebooks | Wonkhe

For Rachel Bickley, market pressure alone cannot solve the problems in the market for academic ebooks.

In the time since a small group of academic librarians launched the #ebooksos campaign with an Open Letter asking for an investigation into the academic ebook publishing industry, we have faced some questioning of our actions.

In spite of the letter having attracted, at the time of writing, signatures from over 3800 librarians, lecturers, students, heads of services, university senior managers and two vice chancellors, indicating that the cost and availability of ebooks is a significant concern across the sector, there have still been suggestions that perhaps we could sit down and discuss the issues with the publishers instead.

However, these issues are not new. The pandemic has brought the lack of availability of ebooks for institutional access, and the astronomical prices and restrictive licences under which those which are available can be procured, into sharp focus, but librarians have been dealing with this situation for a long time. Dialogue with publishers has been attempted, but it went nowhere useful. The investigation route was not a knee-jerk reaction to being unable to obtain the resources that we need for our students; it was the only option that those of us who set up the campaign could see remaining.

[…]

Fixing the Broken Textbook Market, Third Edition | U.S. PIRG

“Textbooks are too expensive, and have been for a very long time. Little competition in the college publishing industry- and therefore little consumer choice – has contributed to the cost of course materials increasing at three times the rate of inflation since the 1970s. While the curve has plateaued the past couple of years, there has been little change in student experience. Students have continued to skip buying assigned course materials due to cost at similar rates. 

Then COVID-19 happened. To protect public health, educators adjusted their courses for emergency remote instruction at breakneck speed. In the spring, some publishers and education technology companies offered temporary free access to online books and homework platforms for the final few months of the spring term, but the return of full-price materials in the summer coincided with the second wave of COVID-19. An economic crisis has dovetailed the public health crisis, where youth unemployment in the summer of 2020 was double that of summer 2019 and over 8 percent higher than the general population. Any member of the campus community can tell you that the pandemic has exacerbated existing weaknesses within higher education – but how does textbook affordability factor into this difficult landscape for teaching and learning?

This national survey of more than 5,000 college students was taken in September 2020, and builds on similar surveys from 2013 and 2019. It offers a snapshot in time of student experiences, particularly those at four-year institutions, in the first full semester of the pandemic and points out more long-term problems that institutions and national leaders must work to solve. …”