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OER Textbooks: Perfect for the Age of COVID-19

Shortly after COVID-19 forced the shift to all online instruction, the library fielded a number of urgent student requests for help accessing electronic versions of their textbooks.  Some students may not have taken their textbooks home, but many were without because they shared textbooks or relied on print reserves.  Sadly librarians couldn’t be of much help because commercial textbook publishers fiercely protect their revenue streams. They only license electronic versions of their textbooks to students, not to libraries for sharing.

A few students benefited from free access to textbooks offered by VitalSource and RedShelf, commercial digital content providers. But many titles aren’t included in these temporary offerings.  Students had to scramble to find the money to rent electronic textbooks.

As this unprecedented semester concludes and faculty reflect on course materials selections, it is a perfect occasion to consider alternatives to commercial textbooks. Open textbooks are available online for free in multiple formats, are accessible, and have Creative Commons licenses that enable use and remixing without requesting special permission.

OER Commons and Open Textbook Library are tools for finding OER listed on our database A-Z page and on our OER guide. OER Commons is a search tool for a curated list of learning objects that are openly licensed. It includes not only textbooks but assignments, lesson plans and simulations. Open Textbook Library is a discovery tool for textbooks in use at multiple colleges or universities or which have been published by recognized scholarly societies. Some of these textbooks are reviewed and come with instructor materials.

Finding alternatives to commercial textbooks can be time consuming. Enlist the aide of your liaison librarian or use the OER help form.  Tell us about your current textbook or describe your ideal, and we’ll supply you with OER options.

The Office of the Provost in partnership with the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) is happy to announce the Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Adoption Grant, which is designed to encourage faculty to select free, openly licensed textbooks as primary course materials. This pilot grant program will award up to five grants in the amount of $1,000 to faculty members who adopt an OER textbook as the primary learning material for a new or existing course that they expect to teach during 2020-21 academic year. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

 


face shot of business librarian

Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is Business Librarian for Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


 


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Foto Friday: Falvey Celebrates Open Education Week With Fuel For Midterms

By Kallie Stahl 

Michael Foight, Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement, details the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) to current Villanova students.

Michael Foight, Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement, details the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) to current Villanova students. Photo courtesy of Shawn Proctor, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

Celebrating Open Education Week, Falvey Memorial Library hosted an information table February 25, 26, and 27, raising awareness about the potential benefits open educational resources (OER) and the Affordable Material Project (AMP) can bring to students struggling with textbook costs. Library staff provided Villanova students and faculty various options for obtaining affordable course materials. Students were treated to healthy snacks (and sugary treats) to help with late-night midterm study sessions in Falvey.

Founded in 2013, Open Education Week aims to raise awareness and showcase impact of open education on teaching and learning worldwide. AMP is a university-wide collaboration between the bookstore, Falvey Library, CASA, and the Office of the Provost, all working together to address one of the most pressing issues students face today — high and rising costs of course materials.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: February 28, 2020