As part of the larger Scholarly Communications scenario, Saint Xavier University is exploring ways to reduce costs for students, and one area is exploring the use of OER materials to either supplement or replace expensive textbooks.
Alternatives to commercial textbooks can include the complete replacement of commercial textbooks with OER versions, the use of already purchased library materials (usually journal articles), the use of other free OER materials (either textbook materials and/or teaching modules), and/or textbook affordability approaches utilizing hybrid options to develop affordable learning resources.
The adoption of OER and other alternatives can also create more interactive and stimulating teaching pedagogies.
A publisher backed plan is to utilize Inclusive Access as a way to insert required online textbook costs directly into student fees. Unfortunately, this adds guaranteed cost increases and high cost subsidies into a university-supported model. Tests have shown that for many students this is even more expensive than using the normal used textbook market. Publishers claim that the quality is higher, added value online testing is built into the tools, and teachers will not need to spend as much time on identifying quality material. It is proven that in many cases schools can gain the same advantages at far less cost to students by using Open Educational Resources. That is why we are encoraging faculty to adopt Open Educational Resources as a better long-term solution.
The links below describe some of these possibilities and our actions and explorations.
SXU Library options:
Thinking of Our Students Making classes less expensive with free teaching materials, SXU Tech Day session
The intention: To test the effectiveness of commercial online textbook capabilities, and to explore implementing within CANVAS less expensive alternatives such as Open Educational Resources and locally created teaching materials.
Test 1: explored enhanced effectiveness through online textbook options vs other approaches
Method: explore with faculty members the effectiveness of new self-testing options in terms of improved quality and speed of understanding and enhanced classroom participation (e.g. topics coverage in hybrid classes).
Test 2: adopting Open Educational Resources as free alternatives to pay materials
Method: guide and assist faculty with incorporating OER materials as alternatives to commercial textbook and course packet materials.
Test 3: develop local (Open Educational Resources) learning objects as free alternatives to pay materials
Method: assist faculty in exploring OER best practices and developing local materials as alternatives to commercial textbook and course packet materials.
Textbook Cost Reduction and Enhancement Initiative -- campus Review Team
The Library and CIDAT are coordinating a Steering Committee of Faculty members interested in joining a campus-wide conversation and initiative to explore alternatives to expensive textbooks. The Committee was formed during the Fall 2015 semester.
Current Committee Members:
Freshman OER Challenge
The campus has embarked upon an effort to reduce costs and enhance pedagogy by replacing expensive commercial textbooks with alternative materials whenever possible. The use of OER materials, embedding of already purchased library materials (as permalinks to specific articles and/or embedded links to pre-created searches of our databases), or the creation of local teaching materials, will allow for more customization of teaching materials and better testing. The first target is to review all alternative options, and revise as many Spring 2019 freshman courses as possible. Future plans are to extend this approach to other courses.
Textbook Cost Reduction and Enhancement Initiative -- Faculty Summer grants
The Library and CIDAT have established and distributed grants to faculty proposals that prepare us to better explore alternatives to expensive textbooks.
The Library and CIDAT are developing a manual to support the use and creation of OER materials.
SXU will utilize existing OER materials, and when desirable we will create and deposit our locally created materials into a combination of OER sites, society sites, and the new local SXU Institutional Repository (that will hold branded intellectual property of many types).
A description of the types of tools included within OER platforms, and suggestions of appropriate tools for specific teaching needs, such as self-testing, quizzes, visualizations, streaming materials, and group collaboration spaces can be found on the CIDAT site
Free and public domain teaching materials are reviewed and coordinated by initiatives such as:
Many public domain teaching materials are not found in OER sites, but instead are deposited into professional society web portals. Be sure to look under the Teacher sections of such association web sites.
Other repositories of teaching materials concentrate on media materials, for example:
We are a member of the Open Education Network (forrmerly the Open Textbook Network) which promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks through their advocacy efforts and the establishment of the Open Textbook Library.
See the Open Pedagogy Notebook website for examples of innovative teaching techniques and tools.
Open Education in Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Development aims to help faculty and staff advocate for themselves and others in discussions around open education work in promotion and tenure.
See the free materials found in the Bookshare catalog (for alternative formats).
Many authoring tools can be loaded onto individual workstations or laptops; some are free and others may require licenses. Some tools may be found on CIDAT workstations, on dedicated CIDAT media workstations, or in the CIDAT production facilities.
The Faculty Toolkit site contains descriptions of the types of tools included within OER platforms, and suggestions of appropriate tools for specific teaching needs, such as self-testing, quizzes, visualizations, streaming materials, and group collaboration spaces.
Some example tools include:
The OER’s official resource creator. Offers various tags to specify what your content offers, as well as a user interface similar to that of Google Docs. Simple and elegant.
(Video tutorial Included in link)
SXU CIDAT tools:
Adobe Creative Cloud:
Camtasia -- quickly record your webcam or screen, engage your viewers with a variety of effects, and easily share your videos to anyone, anywhere.
Captivate -- create professional looking and instructionally sound content and testing modules using question slides, branching logic, etc.
Other campus tools:
Third party integration: publisher testing to gradebook
The adoption and/or creation of OER materials raises many questions about the scholarly communication network. The new types of use allowed under revised intellectual property rules means authors and teachers need to be aware of a variety of sharing options and the long-term implications of such activities.
Creative Commons -- a system of permissions and licenses that allow others to utilize materials for a continuum of purposes, with varying degrees of modification and manipulation possibilities. All levels require some type of recognition of the original materials and author(s).
Copyright and Fair Use -- legally recognized practices that allow for the one-time spontaneous use of materials for teaching purposes.
Recognition -- a need for the effort involved in creating and sharing such materials to be included in tenure and promotion processes.
OER-Access -- a community of accessible technology experts, advocates, and users coordinating to build an online community and collection of open education resources that can improve universal learning by facilitating the contribution and sharing of accessible technology information, expertise, and accessible online teaching and learning materials.
A list of articles, reports, and websites to keep up-to-date on OER: Steven Bell's OER Links
Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources - transformative uses that address accessibility and link rot concerns
other related OER Codes (media use and social impact)