40 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2018
    1. The literature on open textbooks so far suggests that: (1) students are spending a significant amount of money on commercial textbooks; (2) it is likely they could achieve the same or better learning outcomes if their courses assigned open textbooks (keeping in mind the caveats above noted by Hilton, 2016); (3) students appear to be using open textbooks at the same rate as they use traditional textbooks; and (4) students overwhelmingly rate the quality of open textbooks to be just as high or higher than that of traditional textbooks. Overall, then, the picture emerging from the research suggests that assigning open textbooks in post-secondary courses is likely to provide the same benefits as commercial textbooks at no cost (or a fraction of the cost, for print versions).
    2. The literature shows that the vast majority of students report open textbooks to be of the same or better quality than the commercial textbooks they have used.
    3. Neither study, however, focuses on how faculty are revising OER, and overall there is little research in the extant literature on the degree to which faculty or students are revising OER, how they are doing so, and what impact this may have on student learning outcomes.
    4. Allen et al. (2015) studied students in a chemistry course at the University of California, Davis who were assigned a traditional textbook (448 students) and students in another section of the same course taught by the same instructor (478 students) that used Chemwiki (https://chem.libretexts.org/) as a primary course resource (an openly licensed wiki site that can be used as a textbook). They found no significant differences in outcomes between these students, as measured through pre-and post-tests on content covered in the course, the same midterm and final exams, and the administration of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science chemistry survey (Barbera, Perkins, Adams, & Wieman, 2008), which asks about students' "beliefs on learning chemistry, content of chemistry, structure of chemistry, and connection of chemistry to the outside world" (p. 942).
    5. Fischer, Hilton, Robinson, & Wiley (2015) studied a large sample of students from six colleges and four community colleges in the US. Students in the treatment group (N=1087) used an open textbook or other OER in their courses, and students in the control group (N=9264) were asked to purchase traditional textbooks for different sections of the same courses. The authors found that the students using OER did just as well or better in most of the courses studied in terms of course grades and completion rates.
    6. So & Doering (2016) reports that 75% of 1500 students at the University of British Columbia said they had gone without purchasing a textbook for at least one course. The research on cost reveals that the price of commercial textbooks is affecting students not just financially, but also in terms of their learning.
    7. Jhangiani & Jhangiani (2017) report that of over 300 students in British Columbia, 54% said they had not bought a textbook for a course at least once due to cost, 27% said they had taken fewer courses, 26% said they did not register for a particular course because of the cost of the book(s), and 17% said they had dropped or withdrawn from a course.
    8. In the Canadian context, Jhangiani & Jhangiani (2017) surveyed 320 undergraduates in various postsecondary institutions in British Columbia in 2015 and asked how much they had spent on textbooks in the last 12 months; the mean was about C$700 (median was $500). In a 2016 survey of about 1500 students from the University of British Columbia, nearly half of respondents (49%) said they spend at least C$500 on textbooks each year, and the mean reported cost per year for textbooks was $620 (So & Doering, 2016).
    9. Much of this research can be analyzed under what Bliss, Robinson, Hilton, & Wiley (2013b) call the COUP framework: measuring factors related to cost, outcomes, use, and perceptions of open textbooks.
    10. According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (n.d.), OER are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others" (para. 2). OER can be texts (including open textbooks), videos, assessments, lecture notes, slides, or other learning materials.
    11. The high cost of textbooks is not just a financial concern, but a pedagogical one as well.
    12. Thus, as textbook prices go up, students seem to be responding by trying to get by in at least some of their courses without the required textbooks, which could negatively impact their learning.
    13. The high cost of textbooks has a measurable and negative impact on the educational choices and outcomes of post-secondary students in British Columbia. Students assigned open textbooks perceive these resources to be of generally high quality and value the cost savings, immediate access, portability, and other benefits they confer.
    14. In other words, low digital literacy (among both students and faculty) likely shapes preferences for textbook format.
    15. Immediate access and cost savings ranked at the top of respondents' list; however, it is worth noting that these two features are intertwined, as the principal reasons why students might delay obtaining their required textbooks are financial in nature (e.g., waiting for a student loan or determine whether the textbook is truly required). The tension between textbook costs and access is thrown into even sharper relief when one compares the features that respondents reported liking about open textbooks with their usual textbook purchasing behaviours. For instance, although a majority of respondents reported selling their used textbooks at the end of their courses, the majority also indicated that the ability to permanently retain their open textbook was desirable.
    16. Nearly half of respondents obtained a print copy of their open textbook.
    17. However, although these sub-optimal choices are less prevalent among our sample, once again, they are disproportionately made by those who hold student loans and work the most. Indeed, one can easily conceive of a negative cycle wherein the need to work more hours in order to pay for tuition and textbooks necessitates taking fewer courses, an outcome that delays graduation and requires taking on more student loan debt. Alternatively, cash-strapped students might elect to do without one or more required textbooks. However, in this scenario it would not be surprising for them to perform more poorly (as was reported by nearly a third of respondents in the present study), an outcome that might necessitate repeating a course, once again resulting in a delayed graduation and the accumulation of more student loan debt.
    18. A likely possible explanation for these differences is the greater financial pressure placed on U.S. post-secondary students, who face significantly higher tuition costs (US$11,487 vs. C$5,998 during the 2014-15 academic year; National Center for Education Statistics, 2015, Table 330.10; Statistics Canada, 2014).
    19. On the other hand, one noticeable difference from the U.S. context is in the lower proportion of respondents electing to rent textbooks. This trend has been previously anecdotally reported (e.g., Brownell, 2015) and may be traced to the relatively later introduction of textbook rental programs on Canadian campuses (Jerema, 2010).
    20. With a majority of respondents electing to purchase their textbooks from somewhere other than their campus store, nearly a third downloading their textbooks from the internet, and just over a quarter sharing a purchased textbook, it is also evident that revenue at campus stores from the sales of textbooks is in a (possibly irrevocable) state of decline.
    21. If cost were not a factor 44% of respondents would have preferred using their textbook in only print format, 41% would have preferred using both print and digital formats, and only 16% would have preferred using only digital format(s).
    22. When asked to rate how important different features of their open textbook were to them, 70% of respondents rated "immediate access" as either "very important" or "absolutely essential." This was followed closely by "cost savings" (68%), and then convenience and portability of the digital format (54%), ability to print pages (41%), ability to keep it forever (37%), and ability to share it with others (34%; see Table 2).
    23. Sixty-three percent of respondents judged the overall quality of their open textbook to be above average or excellent, with an additional 33% rating it as average. Only 3.5% of the sample rated their open textbook below average in quality (see Figure 4).
    24. Thirty percent of respondents reported earning a poorer grade in a course because of textbook costs. These individuals were more likely to self-identify as a member of a visible minority group [rpb(252) = .14, p = .03], hold a student loan [rpb(305) = .14, p = .02], and be working more hours per week [r(253) = .15, p = .02].
    25. Over half of the respondents (54%) reported not purchasing a required textbook at least once (see Figure 2). Bivariate correlations revealed that these individuals were more likely to hold a student loan [r(307) = .16, p =.01] and be working more hours per week [r(254) = .13, p = .05].
    26. Indeed, the only published report that investigated perceptions of OER quality in the Canadian context is a survey of post-secondary faculty in British Columbia, a majority of whom perceived OER to be comparable or superior to traditional, proprietary materials (Jhangiani, Pitt, Hendricks, Key, & Lalonde, 2016).
    27. thirteen studies (with an aggregated sample of 119,720 students) that have investigated the impact of OER adoption on course performance found that 95% of these students have achieved the same or better outcomes when using OER (Hilton, 2016; Hilton et al., 2016; Wiley et al., 2016). Taken together, the OER efficacy literature suggests the significant cost savings to students that result from the adoption of open textbooks do not come at the cost of academic outcomes.
    28. These findings echo those of other studies that have discovered lower withdrawal rates, higher completion rates, and greater enrolment intensity following OER adoption (Hilton & Laman, 2012; Hilton, Fischer, Wiley, & William, 2016).
    29. Beyond individual faculty adoptions, a growing number of post-secondary institutions are building entire degree programs (so-called "Z degrees") in which all courses utilize open educational resources (OER), displacing the cost to students of traditional textbooks.
    30. Two-thirds of the respondents in the 2016 Florida student survey had not purchased at least one of their required course textbooks (Florida Virtual Campus, 2016), with 38% indicating they earned a poor grade as a result. What is more, 48% of respondents had taken fewer courses, 26% had dropped a course, and 21% had withdrawn from a course, all reportedly due to cost.
    31. 0-15% tariff imposed on imported books (Justice Laws Website, 2008), a piece of legislation that costs students an estimated $30 million per year (Hall, 2013).
    1. Florida students are reducing costs by a variety of means.
    2. Chart 4: Textbooks Purchased But Not Used (University and College)
    3. Chart 1: Impact of Textbook Costs on Students
    4. Key Finding 6 Florida students are reducing costs by a variety of means.
    5. Key Finding 3 Required textbooks are purchased but not always used in course instruction.
    6. Florida Virtual Campus |Distance Learning & Student Services |www.dlss.flvc.org5Summary of Key FindingsKey Finding 1 The high cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access, success, and completion.
    7. Florida Virtual Campus |Distance Learning & Student Services |www.dlss.flvc.org3During March and April 2016, more than 22,000 students participated in a Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey conducted by the Florida Virtual Campus’s (FLVC) Office of Distance Learning and Student Services. The survey examined textbook affordability and acquisition at Florida’s public higher education institutions. Previous surveys were conducted in 2010 and 2012. In this survey, students were asked to use their recent personal experiences to provide insight on how the cost of textbooks and course materials impact their education, purchasing behaviors, academic completion and success, the study aids they find most beneficial to their learning, and their use of financial aid to address these costs.The purpose of the 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey was to identify:1. The amount of money that Florida's public college and university students spent on textbooks and course materials during the spring 2016 semester,2. The frequency with which students buy textbooks that are not used,3. How students are affected by the cost of textbooks,4. Which study aids students perceive to be the most beneficial to their learning,5. Changes in student responses from previous surveys.The results of the survey are sobering, as the findings suggest the high cost of textbook and instructional materials are forcing many Florida higher education students to make decisions that compromise their academic success.

      students are willing to take a hit on their grades to save some money.

    1. Overall, two-thirds of students said that they bought all of their required textbooks.  But the proportion who said they did fell fairly dramatically as the overall cost of buying textbooks increased.
    1. The cost of textbooks is also influenced by Canadian book importation regulations, which can inflate costs by as much as 15%. In 1999, the federal government created book importation regulations in the Copyright Act in an attempt to help protect the Canadian publishing industry. These regulations allow distributors, if they hold exclusive distribution rights for the authored material in Canada, to charge Canadian booksellers an additional 10% (if it is imported from the United States) or 15% (if it is imported overseas) based off the domestic price of the book in the country of origin and the difference in exchange rates. Campus Stores Canada estimates that these book importation regulations cost students around $30 million annually.