KU Open Textbooks Informational Meeting

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

KU Libraries' Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright invites KU faculty, staff and students to attend a strategic discussion on Wednesday, November 4, from 4-5pm in Watson Library, Rm. 455 to consider the issues around the high cost of academic texts and projects underway locally and nationally to address these issues. At this session, we will discuss the current and future state of the adoption, adaption, and building of Open Educational Resources (including open textbooks) at KU and gather ideas for shaping spring semester programs for various campus communities focused on these issues. Please see the meeting agenda and RSVP to Sean Barker (smbarker@ku.eduto ensure that enough seats are available.

The high cost of textbooks has become a major issue and KU Libraries has initiated conversations over the last few years with faculty concerned about the impact on students. Open textbooks can help alleviate the burden of textbook costs for students and provide faculty with content that may be customized for their courses. Open textbooks are full, real textbooks, used by many across the country, and licensed to be freely used, edited, and distributed.

Some facts about the high cost of textbooks and their impact on students:

  • The high cost of some course materials can impede students’ academic success.
  • The College Board estimated that the average undergraduate can expect to pay $1,225 for textbooks and supplies in 2014-2015.
  • The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation.
  • Seven out of ten students don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.
  • 60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.

There is growing momentum on campus: Doug Ward, professor of Journalism at KU, commented on these issues in a recent article in The Chronicle; this summer, KU Libraries joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) in an effort to increase awareness of open textbooks, which can save students hundreds of dollars per semester.

Please see KU Libraries' OER libguide for more information and resources. Additional information that provides some background reading about OER and Open Textbooks: 

Senack, Ethan. Feb 2015. Open Textbooks: The Billion-Dollar Solution.  The Student PIRGs. http://www.studentpirgs.org/reports/sp/open-textbooks-billion-dollar-solution  - This report reviews five university programs promoting the use of OER to replace traditional textbooks.

Allen, Elaine and Jeff Seaman. Oct 2014. Opening the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014. Babson Survey Research Group. http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/oer.html - The report analyzes a survey on faculty awareness and perception of OER. Of higher education faculty surveyed, at least two-thirds are not aware of OER as an option for required course materials.


  • Ada Emmett
    Director, Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, KU Libraries

  • Josh Bolick
    Scholarly Communication Librarian
    Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, KU Libraries

  • Marianne Reed
    Digital Initiatives Manager
    Digital Initiatives, KU Libraries

KU Today