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Open Educational Resources: An Opportunity to Enhance Student Success: Home

Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute: The Four Pillars toward course completion, improved grades, increased credit load, and overall student success. How the library can assist faculty in achieving these goals effectively and efficiently.

Open Educational Resources Defined

 "Open educational resources (OER) are any resources available at little or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning, or research. The term can include textbooks, course readings, and other learning content; simulations, games, and other learning applications; syllabi, quizzes, and assessment tools; and virtually any other material that can be used for educational purposes. OER typically refers to electronic resources, including those in multimedia formats, and such materials are generally released under a Creative Commons or similar license that supports open or nearly open use of the content. OER can originate from colleges and universities, libraries, archival organizations, government agencies, commercial organizations such as publishers, or faculty or other individuals who develop educational resources they are willing to share."


David Wiley in 2009 stated we measure the openness of content in terms of the rights a user of the content is granted. The 5Rs Framework describes the five most important rights:

1. Reuse – the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form

2. Revise – The rights to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself

3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new

4. Redistribute – the right to make and share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others 

5. Retain - Copies of content can be retained for personal archives or reference - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content

                  (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

 Student Surveys 

In the fall of 2017, 845 students were surveyed in the Library Commons, the student classrooms, the cafeteria and other campuses in regard to the impact of textbook costs upon their education.

43% of the students or 360 did not purchase the required textbook

37% of the students or 309 took fewer classes which greatly impacts the college’s revenue stream.

20% or 169 did not register for a specific class, which delays their graduation.

24% or 200 did not purchase the required textbook and thus earned a poor grade

10% or 85 did not purchase the text book and dropped the class

7% or 60 failed a class which meant they may have to repeat the class

25% or 210 claimed no impact, but upon reading their comments it was emphasized that family, VA, work earnings paid for the textbooks but caused severe personal spending limitations

88% of the students or 677 responded that they would prioritize taking a class that provided a free online accessible textbook.

During the last two weeks of the Spring 2016 semester I surveyed 502 TMCC students in the library, the classroom and the cafeteria on one question taken from a similar study done in Florida:
In your academic career, has the cost of required textbooks caused you to:
not purchase the required textbook  49%
take fewer courses  39%
not register for a specific course  19%
earn a poor grade  15%
drop a class  9%
fail a class  7%
no impact  21%
As an institution that recommends 5 courses per semester as a pathway to graduation,  39% of the students responded that the cost of a textbook caused them to take fewer classes and 19% responded that they did not register for a specific course due to the cost of the textbook. These are big concepts to consider as we are awarded State dollars based upon completion.
We can all speculate on the 15% who earned a poor grade, the 9% who ended up dropping a class and the 7% who failed a class. The issues of fewer classes taken and specific classes avoided loom largest.
Only 20% of our students were not impacted by the cost of textbooks and many of them responded that scholarships, veteran benefits and financial aid covered the textbook cost.  Additionally, students in the No Impact category reported that the money they earn working covers the textbook cost, but they were not happy about the expenditure.
In addition, many students commented that faculty failed to use the required textbook during the semester, thus they feel relieved when there was no impact upon their class performance by not owning the textbook and annoyed when they purchased the textbook and never/rarely needed to open it.. 


How are today's book costs affecting students?

For its report, Student PIRGs surveyed 5,000 students on campuses across the country to find out how they're dealing with the high cost of textbooks. The survey's key findings:



John Fitzsimmons's picture
John Fitzsimmons
Elizabeth Sturm Library
7000 Dandini Blvd.
Reno, NV 89512-3999