Using open textbooks can save students hundreds of dollars per year. Creating awareness of open textbooks as an option remains a challenge, which is why PSU librarians Karen Bjork and Sarah Beasley attended the Open Textbook Network (OTN) Summer Institute Aug. 9-12, 2016 at the University of Minnesota.
The OTN, an alliance of nearly 250 colleges and universities across the country, supports developing strategies for advancing open textbook programs on their campuses. PSU joined the OTN in 2015. Over the last year, the OTN has grown by nearly 175 members. The institute focused on strategies to increase campus awareness of the negative impact high textbook costs can have on students’ academic performance.
Published under a Creative Commons license, open textbooks are available to students for free. Faculty can custom edit the textbooks to meet their needs. By using open textbooks, students can save thousands of dollars over a college career. The OTN has already saved students an estimated total of $3.1 million in textbook costs. PDXOpen, PSU Library’s open textbook project, has saved PSU students $61,000 since its first textbooks went online in 2015.
“Open textbooks eliminate the cost barrier between students and their learning,” said David Ernst, director of the Center for Open Education and executive director of the OTN. “The institutions in the Open Textbook Network are all committed to improving student success through the use of these textbooks.”
“Textbook affordability is a huge issue for our PSU students. Working with the Open Textbook Network helps us find solutions to decrease the cost of textbooks and course materials,’’ said Marilyn Moody, Dean of the PSU Library.
The Open Textbook Network also hosts the Open Textbook Library, the first searchable online catalog of open textbooks, many of which are reviewed by faculty at OTN institutions. Currently, more than 260 textbook titles (including PDXOpen books) are available for use.