When faculty choose open textbooks, they remove one significant cost barrier to students' education by providing free online course materials. The College Board estimates that, on average, students at 4-year public universities spend more than $1300 per year on textbooks. High textbook costs can have a negative impact on students’ academic performance. Research demonstrates that students make difficult choices because of textbook costs, including not purchasing the required textbook, sharing textbooks, taking fewer courses, or dropping a course. Students may earn a poor grade or fail a course because they can't afford course materials.
The Open Education Network (OEN) is an alliance of more then 1100 campuses across the country advancing open textbook programs at member campuses. UNI has been a member since 2016. As a participant, the UNI will gain expertise in helping faculty understand the negative impact high textbook costs can have on students’ academic performance.
The Open Education Network also hosts the Open Textbook Library which has more than 700 textbook titles available. Published under a Creative Commons license, open textbooks are available to students for free online. Faculty can custom edit open textbooks to meet their needs.
Rod Library's Affordable Textbook Initiative saved UNI students more than $421,000 last year due to open textbook adoptions.
Many open textbooks can be modified, such as if you need students to only use selected chapters or you are using portions of multiple open textbooks. Contact Rod Library's Digital Scholarship Unit if you need assistance modifying open textbooks and understanding what open textbook licenses allow.