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Open Educational Resources (OER) & Textbook Equity

What is textbook equity?

We aspire that all UNI students have access to high-quality course materials that are: affordable, accessible, and inclusive.

Why is Textbook Equity important at UNI?

Why is textbook equity important at UNI? In a spring 2021 survey (n = 688), UNI students reported they:

  • share books (61%).
  • avoid purchase of required texts (48%).
  • change sections or avoid registering for a specific course/section due to textbook costs (29%).
  • have earned a poor or failing grade due to textbook costs (23%).
  • have dropped a course or take fewer courses due to textbook costs (19%).

In addition, Open Educational Resources (OER) are modifiable, so faculty can adjust content as they wish. This means the potential for including more creative and culturally inclusive pedagogy, as well as representing more events/people/stories/voices than traditional commercial textbooks.

Transitioning courses to free materials can decrease course withdrawals by up to 30% and particularly benefits students who are Pell-eligible, BIPOC, international, and/or part-time (Clinton & Kahn, 2019Colvard, Watson & Park, 2018; Delgado, Delgado, & Hilton, 2019).

UNI Student Perspectives on Textbook Costs

How can we address textbook equity?

There are a number of ways to address textbook equity, as shown below. This guide primarily focuses on
Open Educational Resources (OER).

Affordable course materials Venn diagram

Image courtesy: Abbey Elder (public domain)

How can I help?

Stats Summary: 2021

UNI faculty saved students $282,000 in 2021 through use of Open Educational Resources (OER)!

  • Faculty reporting OER use in one or more courses: 14
  • Colleges represented:
    • College of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences (11 faculty)
    • College of Social & Behavioral Sciences (1)
    • College of Business (1)
    • College of Education (1)

Reported OER Usage in 2021

Student Cost Savings by College, 2021