What we’re reading about OPEN:
Florida Virtual Campus Office of Distance Learning and Student Services conducted a large-scale study in 2018 to examine textbook affordability and the associated implications. Among the many key findings, notably the cost of textbooks negatively impacts student access to required materials and learning. The top 5 highest percentage answers as a result of the high cost of textbooks are: not purchasing the required textbook (64%); taking fewer courses (43%); not registering for a specific course (41%); earning a poor grade (36%); and dropping a course (23%).
A recent study by Colvard, Watson & Park (2018) found that “… OER adoption does much more than simply save students money and address student debt concerns. OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education.”
Like OER, inclusive access models aim to ensure that all students have access to their learning materials on day one of class, but the major difference is that OER are free and inclusive access is not. Colleges and universities sign inclusive access contracts with publishing companies that then add the materials cost directly to the student’s tuition bill, also known as “automatic textbook billing.” In February 2020, U.S. PIRG Education Fund reviewed 31 of these such contracts across the country affecting more than 700,000 students and issued a report revealing a significant amount of the contracts “fail to deliver real savings for students, reduce faculty and student choice, and give even more power to a handful of big publishing companies.”