Phares, D. (2021, July 8). NIU Textbook Costs. CC BY 4.0. Information from Northern Illinois Tuition & Cost, CollegeSimply.
Florida Virtual Campus. (2019, 8 March). Chart for Key Finding 3: The impact of textbook cost, In 2018 Florida Virtual Campus Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey, CC-BY.
Advantages of Free & Open Materials
UNESCO (the Unites Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."
OER exist to ensure educational accessibility and equity.
Interested in shifting to low or no-cost course materials? There are three ways to do it:
Adopt: find, evaluate, and select the free or inexpensive materials that meet your instructional needs.
Adapt: edit, customize, or combine existing content to satisfy your learning outcomes.
Create: author you own bespoke materials that are available for free to students or that are openly licensed resources available to all.
There are a great many misconceptions about free and open materials, most notably that because they do not go through the same process as commercially published materials, they are not of comparable quality. However, free or open resources are often as good as those produced for-profit publishers. In fact, many works were created for commercial purposes, but are now in the public domain, such as older editions of Shakespeare's plays edited by eminent scholars or images of classic works of art. And the new materials that are produced are frequently the creations of faculty at colleges and universities--the same individuals who are responsible for writing commercial textbooks.