In a 2013 survey, 65% of students polled from universities and colleges across the U.S.reported that students declined to purchase required textbooks due to the high cost. Ninety-four percent of these students admitted they made this decision despite concerns that not purchasing the material would hurt their grade in the course.
While there is no single solution to the high cost of textbooks, open educational resources or OERs are being produced by credible authors and incorporated into curricula at many colleges and universities. OERs are books and other instructional materials freely available. Types of OERs include textbooks, content modules, simulations, image galleries, software, and more. The library maintains a guide that tracks credible OER collections.
Many OERs are customizable, enabling an instructor to tailor a resource to their own course needs. Because many OERs are available for reuse through a Creative Commons license, the hurdles of restrictive licensing or costly permissions are removed.
Some OER collections are available through the following links:
- Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota): https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/
- DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books: http://www.doabooks.org/
- MERLOT II (peer-reviewed educational matrials): https://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm
- College Open Textbooks (search by multiple criteria for open textbooks found online): http://collegeopentextbooks.org/
- Teaching Commons (OERs from leading colleges and universities): http://teachingcommons.us/
- OpenStax CNX: repository of OERs available for remix, reuse: http://cnx.org/about
Let the library help you with locating, using, or even creating OERs. Our campus repository, Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech is a perfect platform for the OERs you create and want to share. And, when you would like assistance with interpreting the range of Creative Commons licenses, request a personal consultation with a librarian. Sometimes the idea of copyrighted work can feel like a huge impediment to creating your own work or course pack; librarians love to solve these problems with you. Request a confidential copyright consultation with a librarian.
Additionally, the library provides subscription access to many ebooks including titles published by Springer, IOP, McGraw-Hill, SPIE and ASM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.