While there are many components to the educational affordability problem, the high cost of textbooks is one area where faculty, students, and staff can make a difference by participating in the conversation and initiatives.
On March 6, 2018, as part of Open Education Week activities, the DePaul University Library welcomed Pablo Gomez, Associate Professor in DePaul’s Department of Psychology, Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian at Northwestern University Libraries, and Joshua Kaufman, DePaul student and member of the Student Government Association to share their perspectives about open textbooks in a panel discussion. Open textbooks are just one type of open educational resource (OER) that can be incorporated into courses by faculty. Scott Walter, DePaul’s University Librarian, moderated the energetic discussion that shed light on various dimensions of this rapidly evolving movement. In addition to textbook affordability challenges experienced by students, the panel also explored the dynamics of open textbook adoption, ancillary materials, student engagement with course materials, student outcomes, and ways to increase awareness of available open resources. The shared purpose of ensuring student success was evident in the panelists’ remarks as well as in the questions from the audience. This panel was the start of what we hope will be a more intensive, and ongoing, engagement between librarians, faculty, and students regarding how we can work together to provide access to no-cost or low-cost educational materials to students as part of the university’s commitments to innovation in teaching and learning and to educational affordability.
If you are a current DePaul faculty member, look for an e-mail invitation the week of May 7th (with follow-up reminders later in the month) asking you to complete a survey designed to assess awareness, adoption, and perception of OERs. Please help us deepen the conversation about OERs by sharing your input on this important initiative by June 8, 2018.
A corresponding student survey on textbook affordability was launched on May 1, 2018, and in the first three days we had received over 900 responses from students. The results of both surveys will inform how the Library, in collaboration with other University units, designs and implements OER initiatives aimed at increasing OER awareness in order to reduce the cost of educational materials for our students.
If you would like to know about Open Educational Resources at DePaul, or about how to locate OERs that you might use in planning your upcoming courses, please contact Sue Shultz, or your liaison librarian.