Open Textbook Network's affordable and free textbook options presented to faculty, staff

Faculty and staff participated in two workshops Feb. 9 led by Open Textbook Network personnel. Open textbooks are published be freely used, adapted and distributed in electronic format, often with print versions that are more affordable than conventionally published textbooks.

UNT’s Student Innovative Fund for Teaching (SIFT) has provided funding for the Libraries to join the Open Textbook Network, a consortium of institutions committed to access, affordability and student success through open textbooks.

The morning workshop introduced faculty members to studies on the effects of the high cost of textbooks today. According to a 2016 survey of students at public colleges and universities in Florida, because of the high cost of textbooks:

• 67% did not purchase a required textbook
• 48% took fewer courses
• 46% did not register for a course
• 26% dropped a course
• 21% withdrew from a course

And in a report from the Student PIRGs, “82% of students felt they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available free online and buying a hard copy was optional.”

Faculty participants learned about some of the alternatives to conventional textbooks available today, many of which are listed in the Open Textbook Library.

The afternoon workshop, which included staff from CLEAR, Barnes & Noble at UNT, Printing Services, Career Connect, the provost’s office and the Libraries, introduced participants to the topic and encouraged discussion of ways that UNT might support greater awareness of open textbooks among faculty and support those faculty members who want to adopt or create open textbooks for their courses.

Faculty and staff interested in learning more about open textbooks and other forms of open educational resources (OER) should contact John.Martin@unt.edu.