College textbook prices are increasing faster than tuition and inflation. The College Board estimates that students need $1200 per year for textbooks. Based on that number, students in the University System of Georgia (USG) could spend $360,000,000 this year on textbooks. With the high price of textbooks, students often need to wait until their student loan check arrives before buying the textbook, and some students forgo the textbook altogether due to costs.
Some professors have said enough of this already. Today’s technology allows us to create and distribute effective, quality content at practically no cost. So, let’s offer textbooks for free. Let’s create flexible content that gives students multiple formats to choose from. We may be able to offer students the option to print (or purchase a print copy for less than their own cost of printing) or access the content on their tablet, phone, or computer. Maybe students will even save the content forever so that their learning doesn’t stop when the course is over. We could even assign a license that provides the right to adapt and redistribute the work so that both students and teachers have the flexibility they need to teach and learn.
Content that allows for such flexible uses are known as Open Educational Resources (OER). A growing body of empirical research has shown improvements in retention, completion, GPAs and other factors with the use of OERs. Learn more about finding and using open resources with this Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) tutorial. For additional assistance, contact Denise Dimsdale (firstname.lastname@example.org), ALG Library Coordinator or George Pullman(email@example.com), ALG Campus Champion.
Check out these OER textbooks in use in some USG courses: