Earlier this year, the DePaul University Library and the Student Government Association co-sponsored a panel on “open textbooks” as part of our celebration of Open Education Week and as part of our ongoing collaboration with faculty to promote the use of open educational resources (OERs) at DePaul. All participants at that panel – students, faculty, and librarians – recognized that the first step in promoting a university-wide discussion of educational affordability, the cost of educational materials, and the options available for faculty and students wishing to make use of OERs, including open textbooks, is to learn more about how the cost of textbooks influences student success and to learn more about the ways in which DePaul faculty are already making use of OERs in their classes.

This week, we are launching the first, university-wide survey of DePaul students designed to collect local data and local stories about the cost of textbooks, the impact of textbook costs on student decisions about courses they take, work they do outside the classroom, and choices they have to make about how to make ends meet throughout their academic careers. Previous studies have shown both that the high cost of educational materials may lead students to “make decisions that compromise their academic success,” and that many students feel “more prepared, engaged, and [better prepared to achieve] the learning outcomes of the class,” when OERs are employed. We would like to hear from you to determine the degree to which these early studies of the impact of OER use in higher education resonate with your experience at DePaul.

More than 500 students completed the DePaul OER Student Survey on the first day it was made available, but there is still time for you to make your voice heard. If you are a current DePaul student, please look for an e-mail invitation to complete the survey by June 8, 2018.  A faculty survey will be launching later this month, and we look forward to continuing to work with SGA and our faculty colleagues to ensure that these data can be used to inform our ongoing work to ensure that the library is a leader in promoting DePaul’s commitments to innovation in education and to educational affordability.

Click here to learn more about Open Educational Resources at DePaul.

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