Among the numerous college-associated costs, budgeting money for textbooks might not be the largest amount on the list. However, for many students it remains a hefty financial burden.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, OHIO faculty attended a workshop hosted by the University Libraries, which earlier this fall joined the Open Textbook Network, to address increasing textbook costs. The session centered on open textbooks—books that have an open copyright license and are available for free online.
Presenters Jasmine Roberts, a lecturer in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, and Marilyn Billings, a scholarly communication and special initiatives librarian from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said open textbooks have increasingly become an option for faculty hoping to save students money.
In her presentation, Roberts cited evidence that the alarming rate at which textbook costs have soared nationally have led to students not purchasing all required texts and causing some students to drop or fail courses. She added that her presentation aimed to help debunk myths, such as quality, about open textbooks.
“There were several faculty who said, ‘Wow, I did not know this source was available to us.’ Or, I had one faculty member come up to me and she said, ‘I did not know that there were so many free, openly licensed sources that were of high quality,’” said Roberts. “…When you think of free, you automatically think, ‘Hmm…you get what you paid for.’ And that is not the case sometimes.”
Faculty participating in the workshop were invited to make a contribution by submitting a public review, which is cataloged in the Open Textbook Library.
Kelly Broughton, assistant dean for research and education services, said the excellent turnout for the session illustrated OHIO faculty’s determination to provide affordable options for students.
Although the estimated average yearly cost ($1,034) per student for textbooks and class supplies at OHIO remains below the national average, Broughton said she believes faculty recognize the amount is still a burden for many students.
“We had a full house,” said Broughton. “I was very happy with that, extremely happy. We had faculty from across the University and at every faculty level. I only see growing interest from our faculty in looking for ways to incorporate quality, low-cost materials into the classroom.”
An afternoon workshop, led by Billings, directed librarians and instructional technologists in their efforts to support faculty in adopting and creating open textbooks at OHIO.
Below are more photos from the faculty event.
“It is a pleasure to see so many people interested,” said Jasmine Roberts, left, about the Open Textbook Network, as she talked with Zaki Kuruppalil, right, associate professor and assistant department chair of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.
(From left) Cathleen Presutti, lecturer of math; Judy Carey Nevin, director of the Hannah V. McCauley Library in the Lancaster Regional Campus; and Mary Tucker, professor of management, chat during the workshop in Alden Library.
“I thought that the audience was very engaged,” said Marilyn Billings, left. Here she shares her business card with Zaki Kuruppalil as Gillian Berchowitz, director of the Ohio University Press, looks on.
Derrick Tucker, instructor of mathematics, chats with Jasmine Roberts after the workshop in Alden Library.
All photos courtesy of Lexi Browning/Ohio University Libraries