By Linda Hauck
Textbook costs make Villanova students feel “broke,” “frustrated,” “like a cash cow,” “stressie & depressie,” and “overwhelmed.” This is what Librarians tabling in Falvey for Open Education Week heard from the many students that stopped by to chat.
We also heard that students use a variety of coping mechanisms for dealing with high textbooks costs, including some recommended by the Affordable Materials Project, such as rentals, used books, or EZBorrow, but others less effectual, such as “stop buying books and hope for the best,” or less ethical, such as sourcing their textbooks from piracy websites.
Villanova faculty work diligently to source assigned course reading from library subscribed content, make extensive use of eReserves, prescribe the use of previous editions, and use other means to suppress materials costs. More can be done.
A few have adopted Open Educational Resources (OER), free, open licensed, accessible materials in a variety of formats that can be used, distributed, and edited to suit local educational objectives. The most widely used OER are textbooks designed for introductory courses such as those published by OpenStax.
Additionally, faculty will find there are many webinars (filterable by language and online) happening this week offered as part of Open Education Week. You’ll be able to view programs on the basics of how to find suitable OER, panel discussions on switching to OER, workshops on using authoring tools, such as Libretext, and discussions on the intersection of OER with social justice, inclusive practices, and academic excellence.
Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is the Business Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.