Saturday, August 31, 2019

Why are college textbooks so expensive? - Amie Freeman, Georgia Sun

The high price of college textbooks has long been a sore point for students. Even though the price reportedly went down by 26% since January 2017 – the first decrease in years – the overall trend in recent years has been a steady incline. Amie Freeman, a librarian at the University of South Carolina, explains the forces behind the prices.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Where are EAC open education resources? - Gitura Mwaura, New Times

Rwanda, in the meantime, is entrenching open online education, including OER. The University of Rwanda has early last year been offering online resources and tools.  UNESCO, the UN body driving the cause, notes that since 2002 when the term Open Educational Resources (OER) first emerged, OER has increasingly been recognized by the international community as an innovative tool for meeting the challenges of providing lifelong learning opportunities for learners from diverse levels and modes of education worldwide.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Browsing A lost art. - Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed

In Prof. Pearson’s case -- again, to distinguish him from the publisher -- he checked the prices of hardcopy versions of Open Stax OER textbooks.  As he correctly noted, in some cases, the same content is available to students online for free, but some students are still more comfortable with an actual, physical book.  In his case, he notes that a hardcopy of the physics textbook is less than fifty dollars, and it covers two semesters. The chemistry book that covers two semesters is available for less than sixty dollars.  Compared to what commercially produced science textbooks generally cost, that’s more than reasonable. And if that’s still too much, the same content is available online for free.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Education group urges U.S. Justice Department to block textbook merger Bryan Pietsch, Reuters

An education group seeking to increase access to college textbooks and research materials on Wednesday asked the U.S. government to block the proposed merger of textbook publishers McGraw-Hill Education Inc and Cengage Learning Holdings II Inc. The proposed merger “will significantly decrease competition in a market already rife with anti-consumer behavior,” the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) said in a filing with the Justice Department’s Antitrust division. SPARC advocates the open sharing of research and educational material. Its members include colleges and universities from around the United States, such as Harvard University, Iowa State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to its website.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Why E-Textbooks Haven’t Taken Over Schools - Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

E-textbooks have not replaced paper books at schools. There are many reasons why e-textbooks are not taking off. Let’s look at a few of them. All in all, both physical and digital books have their place, but they provide different benefits and we value them differently.

Monday, August 26, 2019

ETSU Sherrod Library, Center for Teaching Excellence give Open Educational Resources Awards - Johnson City Press

ETSU’s Charles C. Sherrod Library and Center for Teaching Excellence awarded $30,000 to faculty and departments as part of the 2018-19 OER Awards Program. The awards recognized faculty who will be replacing costly educational materials in their courses with free, online resources during the 2019-2020 academic year. Faculty and departments will transform 17 courses (39 sections) to use freely available materials, resulting in 1,700 students saving $200,000, with the potential for future savings.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Everything Old is New Again: Textbooks, The Printing Press, The Internet, and OER by Stephen Downes

Practice with feedback, with reflection. "Providing students with lots of online interactive practice is absolutely one of the ways we should be leveraging the affordances of the internet in support of student learning. But – particularly when it comes to OER – we aren’t.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Global Open Initiative Co-founders, Sadat and Sadik to attend the 2019 Civil Servant research summit in Stockholm - Gideon Sarpong, Modern Ghana

CivilServant, a project of Global voices, and Wikipedians from over a dozen Wikipedia communities to discuss how Wikipedia can test their ideas tand help their communities thrive.
  • A project to build and distribute “Internet-in-a-box” devices that enable people in Ghana to use rich online resources like Wikipedia even when their access to the Internet and electricity is missing or limited.
  • An OER Network to provide no-cost websites for teachers in Ghana to create and share open educational resources designed specifically for local teaching and learning needs.
  • volunteers in facilitating/coordinating Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia commons in Ghana.

Friday, August 23, 2019

English faculty at Butler CC contribute to Open Educational Resources - Butler County Times Gazette

Butler Community College is fighting back against rising textbook costs for students. Using new methods, students are paying significantly less for certain classes, BCC officials claim. For Butler students enrolled in English Composition I and II classes, the OER textbooks are homegrown. “The English department decided that instead of asking our students to spend a ton on textbooks, we’d just write the books ourselves, so we divided the work and got it done,” said department chair Jim Buchhorn, who wrote three chapters of the resulting Comp II textbook. “There’s no need for a new textbook every year — the rules of English grammar are basically what they have been since about 1066 AD.”

Thursday, August 22, 2019

1,000 HBCU students to receive free access to textbooks from UNCF, Cengage partnership - Tramon Lucas, WBAL

Students from historically black colleges and universities can apply to gain free access to their course materials thanks to a partnership between Cengage and the United Negro College Fund. Earlier this month, Cengage and UNCF announced a program to provide 1,000 students from HBCUs with free, semester-long subscriptions to Cengage Unlimited.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

11 Ways to Cut Your Textbook Costs U.S.News & World Report- Farran Powell , Emma Kerr, Yahoo Finance

Some colleges participate in inclusive access programs, which make books available digitally to all students on the first day of class, if a professor opts in. Students have the option to either keep the digital textbook access at a discounted price, or decline and buy the textbook elsewhere. This program makes it easy for students and can help them cut costs, says Mike Hale, vice president of education for North America for VitalSource, an online textbook and materials provider. "They didn't have to search for it, they didn't have to buy it, it's just there," he says.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

College of DuPage partners with OpenStax to increase use of free textbooks - Daily Herald

Open educational resources eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully, College of DuPage President Brian Caputo said. "College affordability is extremely important to our students, and this partnership will support the college's efforts to remove financial hurdles and provide instant access to educational materials," he said.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Textbook Authors Say Their Publisher Is Shorting Them on Royalties. They Blame Its Digital-Subscription Service - Liam Knox. Chronicle of Higher Ed

A lawsuit accuses Cengage of “diluting the net receipts from which royalties are calculated” and paid to textbook authors “simply because the sale at issue happened to occur digitally.” Textbook authors on Tuesday sued the publishing company Cengage for allegedly violating the terms of their contracts by altering how it calculates royalties for some digital sales.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Join the M.O.S.T. Regional Open Educational Resource Forum - UMBC

Discuss OER accessibility, quality, student success.  Are you new to open educational resources (OER) and interested in learning how to adopt or scale OER in your course or across your institution? Register to join the Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) initiative on September 20th at the M.O.S.T. Regional OER Forum: Central Maryland to participate in interactive sessions and discussions on OER in higher education.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

College textbook prices going down - Steve Rosen, Chicago Tribune

It marks the first time in more than a decade that college textbook prices have fallen, according to the CampusBook. Its findings are based on about 500,000 student textbook purchases through its site from August 2017 through January 2019. Expensive college textbooks, especially for science, math, technology and engineering courses, have bedeviled many students for years, making the campus bookstore one of the most reviled places to visit.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Student Frustration With the Flawed Textbook Market Is Justified - Peyton Lofton, FEE

The textbook market is far from a free market. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) put it best when he tweeted, “We’ve seen what happens when there is too little competition in this industry—prices soar leading to more student debt.” Senator Durbin’s tweets indicate that textbook costs are a bipartisan concern requiring a bipartisan solution.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Pierce College gets $250,000 grant from state for expanded learning programs - Ryan Carter, LA Daily News

The grant will also enable Pierce — one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District — to offer more online education classes. Officials said it will also lower textbook costs by expanding the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) – free learning materials. “We will implement innovative technologies and culturally responsive pedagogy to advance CTE online course development, enhance online teaching and increase access to industry-driven certificates,” Voss-Rodriguez said.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pennsylvania statewide summit shares best practices for free, open textbook use - Penn State

Pennsylvania’s first Open Educational Resources (OER) Summit, held today (Aug. 9) at Penn State University Libraries’ Pattee Library and Paterno Library on the University Park campus, aims to help higher education librarians across the commonwealth discuss challenges and solutions for supporting the use of free and openly available course materials, including open textbooks, to help lower the cost of attending college statewide.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Heard on Campus: The possibilities presented by open educational resources - Anne C. Osterman, Penn State News

“OER (open educational resources) is about more than student savings — it is about student success and lifelong learning. It is about faculty empowerment and increased student engagement. It is about equity and diversity. … This is an opportunity for collaboration across the institution, from faculty to instructional designers to librarians to assessment professionals.”

Monday, August 12, 2019

The radical transformation of the textbook - BRIAN BARRETT, Wired

Pearson’s digital-first initiative will dramatically bring down textbook costs on average, albeit by phasing out the concept of ownership. But increasingly, colleges are embracing textbooks that cost … nothing. Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Using OER courseware to improve your curriculum - BRANDI THOMAS, eCampus News

While the use of OER (open educational resources) is often praised as a low-cost and more accessible alternative to physical textbooks, there’s still a lot of criticism surrounding OER courseware. Many educators are concerned about issues such as compatibility with existing learning management systems, quality of materials, course customization options, and more. But there is an often-overlooked middle ground between OER and traditional textbooks: enhanced OER courseware. This type of digital solution builds a course on a foundation of OER materials, then enhances it with ancillary materials such as analytics, assessments and videos.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


A group of nearly 100 different student representatives, organizations, and institutions have signed a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that they block the proposed merger between education publishers Cengage and McGraw-Hill. The letter was released on U.S. Public Independent Research Group’s (PIRG’s) site on July 29. Addressed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, it asks the DoJ to block the deal on the grounds that it will violate antitrust law and limit competition. They write, “The merger threatens to consolidate more power in the grasp of a handful of publishers, who have used their enormous market share to drive up prices for consumers over the course of the past few decades.”

Friday, August 9, 2019

B.C. university eliminates cost of textbooks from 6 programs - Alex Migdal, CBC

A B.C. university has added a sixth program to a growing list of programs that students can complete without buying a single textbook. Students enrolled in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's one-year certificate design program will now use library materials and open textbooks, which are authored by faculty and peer-reviewed like a traditional textbook but are published with an open licence. About 90 per cent of B.C. universities already use open textbooks, which can be accessed online. But Kwantlen says it has designed programs entirely around the free resources, known as zero textbook cost programs.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Textbook Spending Continues Slow Decline - Nick Hazelrigg, Inside Higher Ed

Keeping in line with recent trends over the last couple of years, spending on course materials such as textbooks decreased 14 percent in the last year, an annual survey of students finds. A separate study of internal prices of one textbook retailer found that prices had decreased 26 percent in the last year. According to the survey of more than 20,000 students across 41 institutions conducted by the National Association of College Stores, students on average spent $415 on course materials in the 2018-19 academic year, down from $484 last year. Student spending has declined almost every year in the last decade -- in 2008 students spent an average of $700 on course materials.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

PPCC offers alternatives to expensive textbooks - Jeanne Davant, CSBJ

Pikes Peak Community College recently joined a handful of colleges and universities that have adopted “open education resources” that help reduce the cost of books. The main culprit for high textbook prices, according to research done by CBS News MoneyWatch, is that textbooks increasingly are bundled with access codes that unlock other materials students need for classes, such as videos, homework and quizzes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Adding fees for access to digital textbooks re-creates monopoly - Colby Jubenville, Tennessean

A new trend has taken shape, one that many colleges and universities are increasingly embracing, perhaps without a comprehensive study of the facts. Large textbook publishers -- the same companies that drove up book prices by more than 1,000% in the past -- have begun selling proprietary digital materials and convincing colleges, universities and even higher-education governing boards to institute new student fees to pay for access to their content.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Rowan college affordability initiative takes aim at textbooks - CLAIRE LOWE, Press of Atlantic City

Rowan University is doubling the size of a grant program to create free course materials for students with the hope of improving college affordability. The college awarded 10 grants this year to professors in a variety of studies to create low- to no-cost textbook or reading materials.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More College Students Are Downloading Course Materials for Free—Or Skipping Them Entirely - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

Use of free course materials among college students is up, with 22 percent downloading at least one such resource during the spring 2019 semester, according to research published Wednesday by the National Association of College Stores. That's an all-time high, and a big increase since the fall of 2015, when only 3 percent of students reported downloading free course materials. The percent of students who reported downloading free materials has increased each semester since. That figure includes texts procured legally, like open educational resources (known as OER), and illegally, such as pirated files shared through torrent websites.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Textbook Spending Stays Flat - Nick Hazelrigg, Inside Higher Ed

Survey finds the amount students spend on course materials each year has decreased, possibly indicating students are increasingly utilizing open-source material and other educational resources. According to the survey of more than 20,000 students across 41 institutions conducted by the National Association of College Stores, students on average spent $415 on course materials in the 2018-19 academic year, down from $484 last year. Student spending has declined almost every year in the last decade -- in 2008 students spent an average of $700 on course materials.

Friday, August 2, 2019

OER Hackathon- Joanna Miller, Joanna M. Miller, & Scott Hubbard, CCCOER

A group of 30 faculty in myriad disciplines from across the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) came together June 4 to create, curate and implement open educational resources in their classes. The five-hour OER Hackathon, sponsored by the LibreTexts OER US Department of Education grant, enabled instructors and librarians to work collaboratively as well as independently in a day designed to minimize presentations and maximize results.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

PPCC expands courses that use free online textbooks and classroom materials - Debbie Kelley, the Gazette

he average cost of textbooks for community college students nationally is an estimated $1,500 per year, according to the College Board. To help students lower the cost of education, PPCC for the second year will offer free "open educational resources," when classes resume Aug. 26. Open educational resources are publicly accessible, openly licensed and usually digital educational materials. They can be freely used, adapted, offered in print form and shared with little or no restrictions.