Open Education Resources: Textbooks and more...

Definition or Description. Source. An open textbook is an openly-licensed textbook offered online by its author(s). The open license sets open textbooks apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, or print the book at no additional cost. [

An open textbook is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers and members of the public. Many open textbooks are distributed in either print, e-book, or audio formats that may be downloaded or purchased at little or no cost.[]

FAQs - You may find the answers to many of your questions about Open Textbooks here

An Introduction to Open Educational Resources
VIDEO (3:46) - An Introduction to Open Educational Resources Abbey Elder More Videos, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian for Iowa State University.
How to Find and Evaluate OER

VIDEO (6:04) - How to Find and Evaluate Open Educational Resources OER - Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian for Iowa State University.
The Future of OER - Abbey Elder
VIDEO (5:42) - The Future of Open Education: Where We Are & Where We're Heading - Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian for Iowa State University.


Open Education Resources for Textbooks and Other Materials

Open Textbook Library Logo
The costs of college are going up every year, and it's not just tuition that weighs on student's minds and bank accounts. According to the College Board, undergraduates spend an average of $1200 on textbooks annually. Faced with these costs, the academic impact is seen in classrooms across the country--many students choose to not buy a required text, take fewer courses, and some even drop or fail a course completely.

Open textbooks are a solution. The Open Textbook Library provides a growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks. Browse a selection of textbooks including, humanities, business, economics, education, and many more. Browse here.

Open SUNY Textbooks

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.
UMASS Free the Textbook Logo
UMass Amherst Libraries
Open Books & Textbooks

OpenStax (formerly OpenStax College) is a nonprofit ed-tech initiative based at Rice University. Since 2012, OpenStax has created peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks, which are available in free digital formats and for a low cost in print.

Selected Research Studies

Bennett, D., McCarty, C., & Carter, S. (2015). The impact of financial stress on academic performance in college economics courses. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 19(3), 25.

Abstract: The rising cost of higher education and the resulting amount of student debt is a current issue for not only students and their families, but also for the entire U.S. economy. This study examines the stress created by the financial burden of the high cost of a college education and the impact of that stress on students' academic performances. The results indicate that financially stressed students were more likely to be employed, worked longer hours, and received significantly lower grades in principles of economics courses. The financially stressed students were disproportionately females, minorities, and first generation college students. FULL TEXT LINK

Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, T. J., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3), 159-172.

Abstract: In some educational settings, the cost of textbooks approaches or even exceeds the cost of tuition. Given limited resources, it is important to better understand the impacts of free open educational resources (OER) on student outcomes. Utilizing digital resources such as OER can substantially reduce costs for students. The purpose of this study was to analyze whether the adoption of no-cost open digital textbooks significantly predicted students’ completion of courses, class achievement, and enrollment intensity during and after semesters in which OER were used. This study utilized a quantitative quasi-experimental design with propensity-score matched groups to examine differences in outcomes between students that used OER and those who did not. The demographics of the initial sample of 16,727 included 4909 students in the treatment condition with a pool of 11,818 in the control condition. There were statistically significant differences between groups, with most favoring students utilizing OER. FULL TEXT LINK

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 573-590.

Abstract: Textbooks are a vital component in many higher education contexts. Increasing textbook prices, coupled with general rising costs of higher education have led some instructors to experiment with substituting open educational resources (OER) for commercial textbooks as their primary class curriculum. This article synthesizes the results of 16 studies that examine either (1) the influence of OER on student learning outcomes in higher education settings or (2) the perceptions of college students and instructors of OER. Results across multiple studies indicate that students generally achieve the same learning outcomes when OER are utilized and simultaneously save significant amounts of money. Studies across a variety of settings indicate that both students and faculty are generally positive regarding OER. FULL TEXT LINK

Junco, R., & Clem, C. (2015). Predicting course outcomes with digital textbook usage data. The Internet and Higher Education, 27, 54-63.

Abstract: Digital textbook analytics are a new method of collecting student-generated data in order to build predictive models of student success. Previous research using self-report or laboratory measures of reading show that engagement with the textbook was related to student learning outcomes. We hypothesized that an engagement index based on digital textbook usage data would predict student course grades. Linear regression analyses were conducted using data from 233 students to determine whether digital textbook usage metrics predicted final course grades. A calculated linear index of textbook usage metrics was significantly predictive of final course grades and was a stronger predictor of course outcomes than previous academic achievement. However, time spent reading, one of the variables that make up the index was more strongly predictive of course outcomes. Additionally, students who were in the top 10th percentile in number of highlights had significantly higher course grades than those in the lower 90th percentile. These findings suggest that digital textbook analytics are an effective early warning system to identify students at risk of academic failure. These data can be collected unobtrusively and automatically and provide stronger prediction of outcomes than prior academic achievement (which to this point has been the single strongest predictor of student success). FULL TEXT LINK

This page was created 03272018.