UTPB to join network in offering students access to free textbooks
WHO: The University of Texas of the Permian Basin J. Conrad Dunagan Library
WHAT: UTPB’s Library to join network in order to offer students free access to textbooks, many online.
WHY: The price of textbooks continue to rise at twice the rate of inflation.
WHEN: Access to this resource will begin Aug. 14, 2017
College students spend as much as $1,300 over their college careers on textbooks alone - a burden that falls most heavily on those who must take out loans to pay for their education (Washington Post, June 2016). Over the past 40 years, textbook prices have risen more than 1,000% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). There is little evidence that things are improving as textbook prices continue to rise at twice the rate of inflation. Financial pressure is cited as a top reason that students drop out of school. Students are reduced to renting used textbooks or pirating them online! The adoption of Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks in curricula is a vital way to solve this.
The research on the impact of OERs goes back to MIT's groundbreaking OpenCourseWare project in 2001. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation MIT project define OER as: teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. The Open Textbook Library defines an “open textbook as one that has an open license that makes it free (or low cost) for anyone to use and change. It can be print or digital.” Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge (Hewlett Foundation n.d.).
This expansive open access (OA) initiative was originally tasked to all system library directors and deans by UT Austin libraries Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Dr. Lorraine Haricombe back in 2015. It was then brought to Dean’s and Academic Councils headed by UTPB Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Dan Heimmermann, who put together the previous Alternative Textbook Committee otherwise known as S.A.V.E. Project = Simple Access + Valuable E-textbooks. SAVE awarded $50,000 of faculty course grants for specific electronic textbook and coursework materials created by a given professor. It was funded in 2015-16 by former President David W. Watts. The OER inspiration also originally initiated from a recent campus collaboration with local Odessa College (OC), awarded an "Achieve the Dream" $100,000 grant for three years in 2016. OC is using OERs to create new degree programs.
In early 2017, UTPB’s Dunagan Library started looking into open educational resources. We ultimately decided to join the Open Textbook Network (OTN), a consortium of colleges and universities working to advance open textbook initiatives. They are a part of the Open Textbook Library (OTL), a collaboration between the Center for Open Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries. UT Arlington Libraries brought them aboard as an OER solution to save students significant money and educate faculty.
As part of this membership, University of Texas of the Permian Basin is hosting an Open Textbook Workshop in 2018. There will be a professional in-service announcement on campus regarding a free in-person workshop for all faculty and adjuncts on open educational resources, open pedagogy, and open access coming soon, so please stay tuned. All questions will be answered. A subject expert, Sarah Cohen, Managing Director from OTN/OTL, will be present. Sarah was formerly Associate University Librarian at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has a MLIS from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“We highly encourage UTPB faculty to learn more during the 2017-18 academic year about how they can apply for upcoming grants, while promoting and advocating their open course materials to their students,” Marks said. “There will now be infinite possibilities at every student's fingertips!“
Contact: UTPB Library Director Howard Marks at: 432-552-2371 or firstname.lastname@example.org