Director of the Kansas Algebra Program
Department of Mathematics
When Josh Bolick from the libraries came to see me a few years ago when the OER effort started, I was intrigued by the repository of texts available from OpenStax. The OpenStax College Algebra book fit with my preference and everything started coming together. If a student would have bought the college algebra book from a traditional publisher, the cost would have been about $160. Because we provided an open textbook and guided notes, the students only paid $60.[Editor Note: KU Libraries estimate that KU students will save approximately half a million dollars by the end of the current academic year as a result of Dr. Peterson's use of OER.] In March 2019, Noah Ries, then KU student body president contacted me, hoping I would talk to Student Senate about open textbooks. I didn’t know I was going to be awarded with the first Student Senate Textbook Affordability Award! The Chancellor shared this information with the Board of Regents, as well, so the steps undertaken at KU can have a broader potential impact on students throughout Kansas.
The adoption of the OER materials is really about students. The students respond positively to the OpenStax text and, of course, the cost savings. We continue to be impressed with the quality of the materials and hope to work with OpenStax to provide even more cost reduction through the use of ancillary materials as well.