Showing posts from August, 2019

College textbook prices going down - Steve Rosen, Chicago Tribune

It marks the first time in more than a decade that college textbook prices have fallen, according to the CampusBook. Its findings are based on about 500,000 student textbook purchases through its site from August 2017 through January 2019. Expensive college textbooks, especially for science, math, technology and engineering courses, have bedeviled many students for years, making the campus bookstore one of the most reviled places to visit.

Student Frustration With the Flawed Textbook Market Is Justified - Peyton Lofton, FEE

The textbook market is far from a free market. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) put it best when he tweeted, “We’ve seen what happens when there is too little competition in this industry—prices soar leading to more student debt.” Senator Durbin’s tweets indicate that textbook costs are a bipartisan concern requiring a bipartisan solution.

Pierce College gets $250,000 grant from state for expanded learning programs - Ryan Carter, LA Daily News

The grant will also enable Pierce — one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District — to offer more online education classes. Officials said it will also lower textbook costs by expanding the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) – free learning materials. “We will implement innovative technologies and culturally responsive pedagogy to advance CTE online course development, enhance online teaching and increase access to industry-driven certificates,” Voss-Rodriguez said.

Pennsylvania statewide summit shares best practices for free, open textbook use - Penn State

Pennsylvania’s first Open Educational Resources (OER) Summit, held today (Aug. 9) at Penn State University Libraries’ Pattee Library and Paterno Library on the University Park campus, aims to help higher education librarians across the commonwealth discuss challenges and solutions for supporting the use of free and openly available course materials, including open textbooks, to help lower the cost of attending college statewide.

Heard on Campus: The possibilities presented by open educational resources - Anne C. Osterman, Penn State News

“OER (open educational resources) is about more than student savings — it is about student success and lifelong learning. It is about faculty empowerment and increased student engagement. It is about equity and diversity. … This is an opportunity for collaboration across the institution, from faculty to instructional designers to librarians to assessment professionals.”

The radical transformation of the textbook - BRIAN BARRETT, Wired

Pearson’s digital-first initiative will dramatically bring down textbook costs on average, albeit by phasing out the concept of ownership. But increasingly, colleges are embracing textbooks that cost … nothing. Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis.

Using OER courseware to improve your curriculum - BRANDI THOMAS, eCampus News

While the use of OER (open educational resources) is often praised as a low-cost and more accessible alternative to physical textbooks, there’s still a lot of criticism surrounding OER courseware. Many educators are concerned about issues such as compatibility with existing learning management systems, quality of materials, course customization options, and more. But there is an often-overlooked middle ground between OER and traditional textbooks: enhanced OER courseware. This type of digital solution builds a course on a foundation of OER materials, then enhances it with ancillary materials such as analytics, assessments and videos.


A group of nearly 100 different student representatives, organizations, and institutions have signed a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that they block the proposed merger between education publishers Cengage and McGraw-Hill. The letter was released on U.S. Public Independent Research Group’s (PIRG’s) site on July 29. Addressed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, it asks the DoJ to block the deal on the grounds that it will violate antitrust law and limit competition. They write, “The merger threatens to consolidate more power in the grasp of a handful of publishers, who have used their enormous market share to drive up prices for consumers over the course of the past few decades.”

B.C. university eliminates cost of textbooks from 6 programs - Alex Migdal, CBC

A B.C. university has added a sixth program to a growing list of programs that students can complete without buying a single textbook. Students enrolled in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's one-year certificate design program will now use library materials and open textbooks, which are authored by faculty and peer-reviewed like a traditional textbook but are published with an open licence. About 90 per cent of B.C. universities already use open textbooks, which can be accessed online. But Kwantlen says it has designed programs entirely around the free resources, known as zero textbook cost programs.

Textbook Spending Continues Slow Decline - Nick Hazelrigg, Inside Higher Ed

Keeping in line with recent trends over the last couple of years, spending on course materials such as textbooks decreased 14 percent in the last year, an annual survey of students finds. A separate study of internal prices of one textbook retailer found that prices had decreased 26 percent in the last year. According to the survey of more than 20,000 students across 41 institutions conducted by the National Association of College Stores, students on average spent $415 on course materials in the 2018-19 academic year, down from $484 last year. Student spending has declined almost every year in the last decade -- in 2008 students spent an average of $700 on course materials.

PPCC offers alternatives to expensive textbooks - Jeanne Davant, CSBJ

Pikes Peak Community College recently joined a handful of colleges and universities that have adopted “open education resources” that help reduce the cost of books. The main culprit for high textbook prices, according to research done by CBS News MoneyWatch, is that textbooks increasingly are bundled with access codes that unlock other materials students need for classes, such as videos, homework and quizzes.

Adding fees for access to digital textbooks re-creates monopoly - Colby Jubenville, Tennessean

A new trend has taken shape, one that many colleges and universities are increasingly embracing, perhaps without a comprehensive study of the facts. Large textbook publishers -- the same companies that drove up book prices by more than 1,000% in the past -- have begun selling proprietary digital materials and convincing colleges, universities and even higher-education governing boards to institute new student fees to pay for access to their content.

Rowan college affordability initiative takes aim at textbooks - CLAIRE LOWE, Press of Atlantic City

Rowan University is doubling the size of a grant program to create free course materials for students with the hope of improving college affordability. The college awarded 10 grants this year to professors in a variety of studies to create low- to no-cost textbook or reading materials.

More College Students Are Downloading Course Materials for Free—Or Skipping Them Entirely - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

Use of free course materials among college students is up, with 22 percent downloading at least one such resource during the spring 2019 semester, according to research published Wednesday by the National Association of College Stores. That's an all-time high, and a big increase since the fall of 2015, when only 3 percent of students reported downloading free course materials. The percent of students who reported downloading free materials has increased each semester since. That figure includes texts procured legally, like open educational resources (known as OER), and illegally, such as pirated files shared through torrent websites.

Textbook Spending Stays Flat - Nick Hazelrigg, Inside Higher Ed

Survey finds the amount students spend on course materials each year has decreased, possibly indicating students are increasingly utilizing open-source material and other educational resources. According to the survey of more than 20,000 students across 41 institutions conducted by the National Association of College Stores, students on average spent $415 on course materials in the 2018-19 academic year, down from $484 last year. Student spending has declined almost every year in the last decade -- in 2008 students spent an average of $700 on course materials.

OER Hackathon- Joanna Miller, Joanna M. Miller, & Scott Hubbard, CCCOER

A group of 30 faculty in myriad disciplines from across the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) came together June 4 to create, curate and implement open educational resources in their classes. The five-hour OER Hackathon, sponsored by the LibreTexts OER US Department of Education grant, enabled instructors and librarians to work collaboratively as well as independently in a day designed to minimize presentations and maximize results.

PPCC expands courses that use free online textbooks and classroom materials - Debbie Kelley, the Gazette

he average cost of textbooks for community college students nationally is an estimated $1,500 per year, according to the College Board. To help students lower the cost of education, PPCC for the second year will offer free "open educational resources," when classes resume Aug. 26. Open educational resources are publicly accessible, openly licensed and usually digital educational materials. They can be freely used, adapted, offered in print form and shared with little or no restrictions.