The cost of textbooks both in the UK and elsewhere has accelerated to over three times the rate of inflation over the past four decades (1). UK students reported spending an average of £312 per academic year on textbooks during 2016 (2). Two decades since the introduction of tuition fees, higher education (HE) student fees now exceed £9K and whilst combined student debt has largely remained static in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales owing to differing national policies on tuition fees, graduates from universities based in England are predicted to owe more than £100 billion at the end of 2017 (3) with the average student graduating with over £50K debt (4). Whilst students look for ways to save money, they also are looking to universities to change the way they operate: more than 80% of UK students surveyed in 2012 said they thought that textbooks should be included as part of the cost of their tuition fees, for example (5).
Use of open educational resources (OER) in North America, particularly in the form of open textbooks have resulted in not only significant cost savings for students but also enabled fuller participation and more innovative pedagogies to emerge. Successful mainstreaming of open textbooks through the concerted efforts of a range of non-profit organisations and advocacy groups has already made considerable gains. [Organisation name], based at [institution name] in Texas have developed more than 29 peer reviewed, openly licensed textbooks used by 1.6 million students each academic year. The textbooks have saved students $345 million since 2012 and are used at over 4,200 institutions (6). [Organisation name], based at [institution name], is an alliance of colleges, universities, statewide systems, and consortia representing over 600 higher education institutions. [Organisation name] focuses on building institutional expertise to educate and engage instructors through workshops that have been proven effective in the US. [Organisation name] also runs the [Resource name and URL] – the most comprehensive catalog of open textbooks available.
The Hewlett-funded UK Open Textbooks project (http://ukopentextbooks.org) is evaluating the prospect for widespread adoption of open textbooks in the UK. Project partners include [institution name], [institution name] and [organisation name] in the UK and [organisation name] and [organisation name] in the USA. This presentation will examine the effectiveness and impact of the [organisation name] and [organisation name] open textbook adoption strategies within the UK context: the [organisation name] strategy of educating and engaging instructors through workshops and textbook review writing, and the [organisation name] approach to raise awareness through poster presentations and exhibition displays. We report back on the outcome of these approaches, subsequent levels of adoption and adaptation of open textbooks and the current terrain of open textbook use in the UK including current adopter case studies. We present the current and potential impact of open textbook use in the UK and reflect on the next steps for mainstreaming open textbooks and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
- http://news.rice.edu/2017/08/10/nearly-1-5-million-college-students-to-use-free-textbooks-this-school-year-2/ and http://research.cehd.umn.edu/otn/