With the cost of textbooks rising dramatically, affordability is always a concern for college students. Textbook companies are constantly releasing new editions of books and pushing the purchase of online resources in conjunction with textbooks, and as a result, students are losing more money as opportunities to sell back books become diminished. The indirect relationship of the consumer and producers of textbooks is also of concern, as professors choose texts that the student have no choice but to purchase. In addition, many students choose not to purchase textbooks or other resources due to the financial strain they present, thus hindering their academic performance. Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a cost-effective alternative. Utilizing OER levels the field for students and ensures all students have a fair chance for success. Furthermore, by allowing professors to reuse resources each semester, build off what other professors have done, and share knowledge and experience, OER benefit more than just the students. Just as the music industry has moved from CDs to online streaming, the future of textbooks is on the Internet in OER.
Authors: Kirsten Fowler and Briana Vamosi, Miami University Undergraduate Students
Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU)
The ORU encourages new and current students to embrace a desire to engage in research. They champion the vision, marketing, and coordination of research by undergraduates at Miami with research-active faculty and staff. ORU focuses on sustaining current levels of participation in research and creative efforts, increasing the overall quality of undergraduate research at Miami as evidenced through publications, grants, and fellowships and broadening participation to students and faculty in all disciplines.
Open textbooks are a subset of open educational resources. It is important to clarify that not all online textbooks are open--online textbooks that are open must meet the 5 Rs requirements listed above.
Why are open textbooks important?
Textbook costs are unsustainable. There are numerous studies and statistics that tell us current landscape is problematic.
Average student costs for textbooks are estimated at about $1,207 annually (Trends in College Pricing 2013 - College Board Report)
In a 2014 survey of more than 2000 students, 65% reported that they never purchased a course textbook because of its high cost (US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund report 2014)
College textbook prices rose 82% between 2003 and 2013; triple the rate of inflation during the same time span (Consumer Price Index Database 2014 - Bureau of Labor Statistics)