Most research on open textbooks concentrates on student savings from faculty switching from traditional texts to open texts. John Hilton III and Barbara Illowsky researched student perceptions of the quality of and value of learning from an open textbook, instead of an assigned traditional textbook. Two studies were completed. The first study focused on student perceptions of "Collaborative Statistics," one of the first open textbooks produced by Connexions. This open textbook was produced in in single text color. The second study was conducted two years after the first study and with a different group of students. It focused on perceptions of the more fully developed "Introductory Statistics" by OpenStax College. The OpenStax OER was produced in color and looks more like a traditional textbook, when printed, than the original text did.
The authors discovered that most students considered both versions of the open textbook, whether used online or printed, as good as or better than traditional textbooks they typically used. Most students would prefer to continue using open textbooks in order to save money. The authors were surprised that there was not a significant difference in quality perception between the original and the improved versions, even though faculty perceive the color version a higher quality.
The presenters will share the results of the studies. They will also facilitate a discussion among the participants, as to the implications for future open textbook development and use.