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Accessible Textbooks and Course Materials: Why Use Accessible Texts?
Welcome to our guide to accessible texts. This page is meant to be a resource for faculty who wish to explore how to lessen the cost burden on their students by making textbooks and other course materials available for free. This page is an evolving resource, we will be adding things as we discover them and we welcome your comments, suggestions, input, and questions. To reach the library to ask a question or suggest an addition to the page please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your input!
The tabs on this page are meant to help you find the resources that you need. This page explaining the rationale behind using Open Access texts. The Search Tools tab provides search tools that will help you search multiple Open Access repositories at the same time, these tools search across all disciplines. The Textbooks tab provides access to the largest and most useful collections, you will want to use this tab regardless of your discipline, as most of these repositories are multidisciplinary. The Books and Journals tab provides access to collections of journals and monographs that are freely available. The Faculty Resources tab has a collection of articles about the topic, and how others have implemented accessible text initiatives. The OA Explained tab has a great deal of material about Open Access in general. Each disciplinary tab has material specific to the discipline. Finally, the Other Models/Initiatives tab has links to DEIJ initiatives at other schools and information about these initiatives.
Making Course Materials More Affordable
Affording textbook and course materials costs can pose challenges for students.
Nationally, the average undergraduate student spends over $1,200 a year on textbooks and other course materials. This can result in students not buying the textbook, or cutting costs in other ways. The library is here to help faculty find and use alternative, high quality, low cost materials in their courses. This can help students save money, and provide them with greater opportunities to complete course readings.
There are 3 main ways that faculty can provide students with materials at a lower cost.
Select Open Access Textbooks and Open Educational Resources that are free for students.
Select books that the library has in its collection with unlimited electronic uses. Books available in this way are limited, and often do not include traditional textbooks. Check HillSearch to see if the book you need is available. Contact the library's Collections team to see if we can obtain a title for you.
Place needed materials on reserve in the library or electronically. While there are some limits to what can be placed on reserve, this option provides students with articles, book chapters and films for their courses. For more information see our page on course reserves, or contact the Access Services team.
...Open educational resources are teaching and learning resources that reside in the public domain or are released with an intellectual property license that allows their free use and, often, re-purposing as well as continuous improvement with thousands of educators around the globe contributing to their content.
Carefully controlled studies show that such free resources, which includes textbooks, courses and even entire degree-granting programs, clearly and reliably generate results equal to or better than traditional textbooks at far lower costs..
Effectiveness and Perceptions of Open Educational Resources
Textbooks are a vital component in many higher education contexts. Increasing
textbook prices, coupled with general rising costs of higher education have led some
instructors to experiment with substituting open educational resources (OER) for commercial textbooks as their primary class curriculum. This article synthesizes the results of
16 studies that examine either (1) the influence of OER on student learning outcomes in
higher education settings or (2) the perceptions of college students and instructors of OER.
Results across multiple studies indicate that students generally achieve the same learning
outcomes when OER are utilized and simultaneously save significant amounts of money.
Studies across a variety of settings indicate that both students and faculty are generally
positive regarding OER.