In a 2013 survey, 65% of students polled from universities and colleges across the U.S. stated that they had foregone buying a course textbook due to 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 answer to the high cost of textbooks, open educational resources or OERs are being incorporated into curricula at many colleges and universities. OERs are instructional materials freely available on the internet. Types of OERs include textbooks, content modules, simulations, image galleries, software, and more.
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.
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 institutional 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.
In addition, the library provides subscription access to many ebooks including titles published by Springer, IOP and ASM. Many Springer ebooks are also available as low-cost print versions that can be downloaded from the Springer ebooks site. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.