Students save big on textbooks

Meredith Howard, Co-Editor

65% of students have skipped buying a textbook because of cost according to the 2014 report “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market” by The Student PIRGS.

The national average cost of a college textbook is $153.

Going through a course without the required text can cause student’s grades to suffer.

Open Education Resources (OER) solve this issue by providing students with more affordable and more accessible alternatives to traditional, expensive, textbooks sold at campus bookstores.

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.

Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” (Hewlett Foundation)

These lower cost textbook options can allow students to take courses they may not otherwise be able to afford. According to Inside Higher Ed, students save an average of $134 of textbooks costs per course when using OER.

OER also allows instructors to customize materials to their course, saving students time by only including what is relevant to their specific course.

If Open Education Resources save students both time and money, why aren’t they more commonly used by instructors?

According to a study conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, 56% of faculty self-reported that they were generally unaware of OER.

This lack of knowledge about OER prevents students from accessing these helpful materials and causes them to pay more than necessary for required texts.

Despite this lack of awareness, the number of universities, colleges, and community colleges that are utilizing OER is slowly increasing.

The Lamp interviewed Amanda Wiesenhofer, Electronic Resources and Library Systems Administrator about the implementation of OER at Lincoln Land Community College.

Wiesenhofer mentioned that there is not currently a systematic approach being used at the College to expose more instructors to the software, but that she would like to see it implemented in the future.

A more organized effort to introduce Open Education Resources at the College is not possible without student’s support.

Lincoln Land Community College currently makes available a number of courses that utilize OER.

When students select courses on WebAdvisor, courses that use OER are not presently specified, which prevents students from making educated decisions about which courses to select based off of textbook costs, a factor that 48% of students consider according to the PIRG report.


The following instructors offer OER options for one or more of their courses:


David Sack, MAT 113: College Algebra

David Leitner, EGL 222: Shakespeare

Amy Chernowsky, CSS 100: College Success Skills

Scott Ebbing, MAT 088, MAT 092, MAT 094, MAT 096

Chris McDonald, POS 101: Introduction to American Politics

Ryan Roberts, HUM 101: Introduction to the Humanities

John Vinzant, POS 101, POS 201