Why Adopt Open Educational Resources?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of textbook increased approximately 88% between 2006-2016.
According to a "Student Public Interest Research Group" survey, this rise in textbook costs have affected the number of classes that students take and these costs will often determine which classes a student will take. Students at Texas Tech University have not been immune to the rising textbook cost. According to the Fall 2020 "Currently Enrolled Student Survey" conducted by Texas Tech University Libraries, 36% of TTU students surveyed did not purchase the required course materials for their course.
The First Day of Class
Research estimates that the proportion of students who have the required course materials on the first day of class fell to 29% in 2020, an 11 point decrease in three years. Students having access to their course materials on the first day of class enables them to be prepared and can lead to greater academic success.
Many university bookstores are offering programs to ensure that students have their materials on the first day of class. While these programs are filling an important need, the cost of the textbooks is usually added as an additional course fee to the students' account. Though the upfront costs are eliminated, these additional course fees are typically added to the overall student loan totals that the student will eventually have to pay back. Unlike these programs, OER are always free and will not cost the student any money in the future.
As the cost to higher education has increased, this rise in costs has disproportionately affected underrepresented, first generation, and low-income students. There are a number of barriers to higher education but the cost of textbooks should not be one of those barriers and the use of OER can help address the racial and class equity barriers associated with attending college.
Here are a list of additional resources regarding the connections between OER and educational equity that may be of interest:
- Open Educational Resources as a Tool for Educational Equity: Evidence From an Introductory Psychology Class [case study]
- Higher Ed's Watershed Moment for Access and Equity
- How Can Teaching Materials Promote Equity?
- Using Open Educational Resources to Create a Culturally Relevant Classroom
- These Colleges are Betting that Culturally Relevant Textbooks will Improve Student Outcomes
- Interrogating and Supplementing OER Through a Decolonized Lens