affordability

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY JOINING OPEN TEXTBOOK NETWORK TO ADDRESS AFFORDABILITY CONCERNS

Florida State University Libraries is joining the Open Textbook Network (OTN) to encourage broader adoption of free, openly licensed textbooks and course materials that are available at no cost to students. The OTN is an alliance of 600 institutions working together to promote access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks.

The cost of commercial course materials has risen at 300% the rate of inflation since 1978, and research suggests that this trend has a number of negative impacts on student success. According to the College Board, undergraduates spend an average of $1200 on textbooks annually. Faced with these costs, many students choose to not buy a required text, make do with an older edition, or take fewer courses — and some even drop or fail a course completely.

In addition to hosting the Open Textbook Library, arguably the premier source of peer-reviewed open textbooks, the OTN promotes broader adoption of these resources at member institutions through:

  • Faculty development workshops to support instructors in identifying and adopting open textbooks for their classes;
  • Staff training to enhance institutional support for open textbook adoption on campus;
  • Collecting data to demonstrate the impact of open textbook adoptions on affordability and student success.

“As only the second university in Florida to join the OTN, FSU is positioned to become a statewide leader on textbook affordability,” said Julia Zimmerman, Dean of University Libraries. “We believe that this membership will yield significant benefits for faculty and students across the University, providing our faculty and staff with expert training on how to find, evaluate, and implement open textbooks, and generating tremendous savings to students as a result.”
To date, OTN member institutions have saved their students over $8.5 million dollars on course materials. The Open Textbook Library includes over 400 titles, the vast majority of which have been peer-reviewed by experts across the country. Further, the OTN reports that approximately 40% of participants in its faculty development workshops go on to adopt open textbooks in their courses, resulting in near-immediate savings for students without compromising academic freedoms or integrity.

FSU Libraries plans to host OTN workshops for faculty and staff in Fall 2018, during International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28. These workshops follow the University’s first Open Education Symposium, which the Libraries hosted in March 2018. More details about the Fall 2018 workshops will be announced as they become available.

For more information about FSU’s OTN membership or the Libraries’ Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative, contact Devin Soper (dsoper@fsu.edu | 850.645.2600). For more information about open textbooks and educational resources, more generally, visit http://guides.lib.fsu.edu/oer.