EDUCAUSE’s 2020 Horizon Report examine the six most impactful technology-enabled practices and find that people are the essential ingredient. -Lauren Glenn Manfuso, EdTech

5. Open Educational Resources Embraced in Higher Education“In the United States, OER momentum is building in nearly every type and size of institutional profile, from community colleges and public universities to elite privates.” Around the world, a wealth of OER materials are being developed or collected by the higher education community. Multiple OER projects offer a unique look at how these efforts are affecting the global OER movement.

Report: More Faculty are Making the Shift to Digital Classroom Resources - Sarah Wood, Diverse Education

Additionally, more faculty are realizing that many of their students often skip reading required texts because they can’t afford them. “We are in the midst of a transition in the way that course materials are distributed and I think this report really highlights that transition,” said Nicole Allen,  director of open education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

A Looming Challenge for OER? - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

Awareness and adoption of open educational resources continue to grow, a new report suggests. But the movement could be overshadowed by publisher initiatives like inclusive access.  “The whole market has changed,” said Jeff Seaman, director of Bay View Analytics. The most recent data from the company suggest there is growing acceptance of digital materials over print among faculty. The survey of 4,339 faculty members and 1,431 chairpersons also finds that professors, college leaders and even entire college systems are increasingly concerned about how much students must pay for course materials.

Free, Online Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools - Kerry McDonald, Cato Institute

Fortunately, there are numerous online learning resources that families can take advantage of, including many that are free. Some of these resources have paid or premium options if you choose, but even the free versions offer great features and functionality. There are also many low‐​cost online learning resources, such as Outschool, that are worth exploring.

‘For as long as schools are closed, we’re open’: Audible makes hundreds of titles free as schools close during coronavirus pandemic - Roisin O'Connor, the Independent

Audible is making hundreds of titles available for free to help people cope with self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. The audiobook platform announced that anyone can listen to a vast selection of its titles for free, for as long as schools remain closed.

Learning during the quarantine: You can read JSTOR’s Open Access content without an account - IVAN MEHTA, TNW

Yesterday, JSTOR, the famous digital academic library, tweeted that 6,000 of its eBooks and over 150 journals are open for anyone to read. The organization noted it’s bringing out 26 public health journal archives, which you can read until June 30. For folks who previously haven’t had access to JSTOR’s library, you can now rifle through all its open access content without having to create an account.

Readers stuck at home need books — and community. Here’s how to access them. - Angela Haupt, Washington Post

If there’s a silver lining to the sudden need to hunker down as the novel coronavirus upends normal life, it’s that maybe — finally — you’ll have time to read. Provided you have enough books. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to access new reading material without leaving the house, and to stay engaged with the bookish community even as libraries and bookstores shutter their doors. Here’s a guide.

Cambridge gives free access to HE textbooks and coronavirus research - Research Information

Cambridge University Press is offering free online access to higher education textbooks and coronavirus research during the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, existing customers are being offered free access to key reference works on request to help them overcome the disruption caused by the global response to the pandemic. All 700 textbooks published and currently available in HTML format on Cambridge Core – the online home of the Press’s academic books and journals – are available regardless of whether they were previously purchased.

Help with online learning, free ebooks for students - University of Colorado Boulder

In light of the rapid move to online courses and learning, the CU Book Store has partnered with their digital course materials platform, VitalSource, and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to ebooks for students who may have lost access to course materials.


Institutions across the country and currently in the midst of the hard and important work of moving instruction online to protect the health of our communities. Converting an in-person course to online is a challenge in the best of circumstances, but on a short timeline, faculty across the country are setting out into new territory. At the same time that PIRG is connecting students and campus community members with necessary basic needs resources, we are also reaching out to faculty to support educators who are working hard to make sure their materials and classes translate online. Yet not all materials are created equal when it comes to level of access.

OU promotes lower course material costs for students through Alternative Textbook Grant Abby Tow, OU Daily

The average college student spends about $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies, according to a national report — an amount that could pay for a student’s groceries for a semester. An OU libraries grant encourages professors to lighten this financial load. The Alternative Textbook Grant from OU libraries awards up to $2,500 to professors who opt for free course materials, rewarding instructors for contributing to OU’s effort to make information less costly and more accessible to everyone.

Managing education with COVID-19 lockdown - Sally Ekanayaka, Omniscience

Founded on the principles of liberating an educational system held hostage by for-profit companies is a new system striving to make higher education an open access option to all. OpenStax textbooks have been used by 9 million students since the project began in 2012, saving an estimated $800 million in textbook costs. Telling us more is MyScienceWork’s contributing member and Astronomy professor, Andrew Fraknoi.

Open Education Week - JAMES F. MCGRATH, Patheos

In recognition of open education week, I want to highlight the way that not only I nor even just my faculty colleagues at Butler University but our institution as a whole is taking steps to address the issue of the rising costs of textbooks.

Make textbooks free already - Farrin Khan, UmassMedia

I have a confession to make: I never buy my textbooks. Put aside the exorbitant cost of textbooks and the occasional futility of purchasing said textbooks in classes, textbooks have always seemed like an unnecessary purchase to me. But I often feel guilty forgoing purchasing any textbooks when I witness my peers dropping between $200 and $500 a semester on them.  Don't get me wrong. I find textbooks extremely important. As a matter of fact, I never pay because I download the textbook online instead of purchasing it. And that's why textbooks need to be free for every student.

That Digital Textbook? Your College Has Billed You for It - Ann Carrns, NY Times

Colleges are increasingly assigning digital books and study tools instead of paper textbooks. But one electronic option in particular has come under criticism from some student advocates. That model is called inclusive access, in which colleges have contracts with education publishers to provide required digital texts and study tools at a discount. Then, colleges automatically bill students when they enroll, as part of their tuition.

Efforts underway to reduce cost of textbooks for college students - AMANDA LARCH, The Herald-Dispatch

Though college can be expensive for many students, initiatives are in place to lessen the cost of textbooks to students, as well as to provide different options for them. Marshall University’s Student Government Association is one organization working to help students afford their books.

Northwestern Digital Learning Podcast: Episode 14, Open Textbooks

This episode is guest hosted by Chris Diaz, a librarian and member of the Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative.  This episode focuses on open textbooks, a type of open educational resource (OER) commonly used at colleges and universities as free alternatives to expensive textbooks. Here are some resources to help faculty get started with OER:

Library lunchtime series shows how Open Resources could make it possible - Aaron Gonzalez, the Student Life

How can students get their textbooks without breaking the bank or breaking the law? From March 2 to March 6, librarians at the Claremont Colleges Library celebrated Open Education Week in order to promote one way to avoid resorting to expensive textbooks or internet piracy: Open Educational Resources.

16 Best Ways to Get Free Textbooks: Find free textbooks online to help cut college costs, Lifewire

Whether you're studying at a major university, taking online college courses, or just learning on your own, there are tons of ways to find free textbooks online. Some books can be viewed in your browser while other are available for download in PDF format.

9 Fantastic Websites that Offer Free College Textbooks - Career Addict

As any student will tell you, one of the most frustrating aspects of university life is turning up on your first day of the course only to receive a lengthy – and very expensive – list of ‘required’ textbooks that you need to purchase. Yet many students are unaware that, actually, you don't necessarily have to go for the most expensive option; in fact, not only are there many ways to get your hands on alternative textbooks, but they are totally free, too.

This is not my usual post, but I believe it is more important than anything else I can post today

We are at an inflection point in the US today - if we don't act seriously now, we will be like Italy and Iran within one week!  -ray