With the rising costs of textbooks (3 times the rate of inflation or over 1000% since 1977), more students choose not to or are simply unable to purchase them. You are probably aware of this phenomenon from recent articles in the Chronicle, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, NBC, or from the hashtag #textbookbroke. Or maybe you, like me, hear new stories from students and colleagues every day this time of year… and again in January. The high cost of textbooks does affect our community. It is time to reconsider the traditional textbook.
Using Open Educational Resources (OER) is one alternative. OER are quality online learning materials (textbooks, videos, games, learning modules), often peer reviewed, that are available through an open license. OER are current, flexible, authoritative, accessible, and have even been shown to have a positive effect on student learning. Here is a great summary of the empirical research published on OER adoption.
To begin this conversation, I invite you to two events scheduled this semester. First, on October 7, Fairfield University is hosting a one-day conference on Open Educational Resources (OER). The workshop will be led by Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Additional presenters include Kevin Corcoran, Executive Director of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) and our own Karen Gonzalez Rice and Joe Schroeder.
Because we want to start exploring the possibilities of OER for our community, Information Services will provide support for up to ten faculty to attend this conference. If you are interested, contact Jessica McCullough. I just learned that the conference is filling up very quickly, if you are interested get in touch soon. (We promise you will be back on campus in time for the faculty meeting scheduled on the same day!)
The second event will take place here on Wednesday, November 11th from 10:30-11:30 in the Haines Room. Find more information and register in the IS events calendar.