Open Educational Resources
OER course content has been around for a long time, but the movement has recently taken off in a big way due, in large part, to the frustration of students and instructors at the high cost and frequent revision of academic textbook editions. The selection of a textbook for your course is an academic freedom issue, and e-Learning respects that. However, we encourage instructors to consider the high cost and low resale value of expensive textbooks, and the new and highly profitable publisher practice of selling access codes for e-texts that expire after a semester of use, and which effectively eliminate the used textbook market.
The quality and breadth of OER texts have improved greatly, especially for lower division courses where there is a larger audience and the content is less specialized. Studies show that the savings to students can be substantial; on average about $100 per course. Faculty who have made the switch are generally satisfied with the content, and studies comparing student success with OER texts as opposed to publisher content show no significant difference in performance.
In the Spring of 2019, Cline Library and the e-Learning Center will be collaborating on a new support model designed to help faculty identify, evaluate, and potentially adopt non-profit OER alternatives to the for-profit commercially published textbooks they’ve been using.
If you’re interested but would like to evaluate open content on your own before taking the next step, take a look at the OpenStax offerings and review the selected readings below.