Textbook costs are increasingly burdensome for students.  Open Educational Resources and other digital materials may increase accessibility and lower cost.  The Academic Affairs subcommittee identified current efforts in this area to reduce cost to students, for example:

  • Some faculty are using Open Education Resources (OER) that greatly reduce the costs for students.
  • The Library and the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT) are participating in a Big Ten Academic Alliance initiative to explore reducing the costs of content creation and affordability.
  • The Unizin Consortium is aggressively pursuing lower cost content for courses through new services and agreements.  Some of these are ready for faculty to use and others will be available in the fall.  One key element will be making it easy for faculty to find this lower cost content (it will be displayed prominently in the new platform).
  • OTLT and UI Libraries will conduct a fall workshop on OER, discussing definitions, opportunities, varieties of OER, and recent OTLT and Libraries efforts, including OTLT research.

Two OTLT staff members have devoted considerable time exploring the impact of OER and collaborating with faculty members to redesign courses that incorporate e-texts.  It is recommended that the Library and ITS Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology continue these activities and increase awareness of solutions that are available.  Since faculty make the final decisions about content in their courses, they should be the primary audience for this communication.