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KU Libraries to host discussion on Open Educational Resources

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The University of Kansas Libraries will host a discussion regarding Open Educational Resources (OER) as one means to reduce the rising cost of required textbooks.  

The strategic discussion will be held on Wednesday, November 4, from 4-5 p.m. in Watson Library, room 455 and focus on issues surrounding the high cost of academic texts, as well as projects underway locally and nationally addressing these matters. This session will also address the current and future state of adoption, adaption and building of OERs (including open textbooks) at KU. Ideas will be gathered to assist in shaping spring semester programs for various campus communities focused on these issues.

The high cost of textbooks has become a major concern and KU Libraries have initiated conversations over the last few years with faculty about the impact on students. Open textbooks can help alleviate the burden of textbook costs for students and provide faculty with content that may be customized for their courses. Open textbooks are full, real textbooks, used by many across the country, and licensed to be freely used, edited and distributed.

Supporting facts about the high cost of textbooks and the impact on students:

•The high cost of some course materials can impede students’ academic success.

•The College Board estimated that the average undergraduate can expect to pay $1,225 for textbooks and supplies in 2014-2015.

•The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation.

•7 out of 10 students do not purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.

•60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they received their financial aid.

There is a growing momentum on KU campus: Doug Ward, professor of Journalism at KU, commented on these issues in a recent article in The Chronicle; this summer, KU Libraries joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) in an effort to increase awareness of open textbooks, which can save students hundreds of dollars per semester.

Individuals interested in joining the discussion are encouraged to RSVP to Sean Barker at to allow for adequate seating.

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