During our four years of experience with open textbooks at the University of Minnesota, we discovered several reasons why faculty don't adopt open textbooks. While the barriers might appear to be small, they are significant enough to stop faculty members from making the change. These barriers include:
- Faculty don't fully understand how financial stress impacts students academically.
- Faculty aren't aware that open textbooks are an option.
- Faculty don't know what open textbooks are or confuse them with electronic textbooks.
- Faculty don't know where to find open textbooks.
- Faculty are skeptical of the quality of open textbooks.
With the support of the Hewlett Foundation and the University of Minnesota Libraries, we were able to develop and deploy solutions and strategies to help faculty overcome these barriers. The Open Textbook Library, now hosting upwards of 215 complete open textbook titles, has built these titles' credibility and increased faculty exposure to open textbooks by incentivizing textbook reviews by faculty from institutions across the country.
At the invitation of our partner libraries, we've visited dozens of schools to seed and support their open education programs. As a result, our partner institutions' data shows that nearly 40% of their faculty attendees adopt an open textbook. This small pilot group of faculty has saved students nearly $410,000 in textbook costs in less than three years. It took outreach, education, conversations, and strategies to engage faculty with the textbooks. And it works.
While workshops have shown to be successful, workshops alone are not enough. What can our growing community of faculty and libraries who visit the Open Textbook Library do to further open textbooks on their campuses? Enter the Open Textbook Network.
The Open Textbook Network (OTN) is a consortium of institutions workingŒæto:
- help facultyŒæovercome barriers to adoption of open textbooks
- increase institutional capacityŒæto support faculty adoption and use of open textbooks
- collaborativelyŒædevelop new understandingsŒæand best practices of open textbook adoption and use.
With close to 40 members representing 150 campuses across the country, the OTN is pooling the experience and expertise of our members to address the most pressing needs in open textbook adoptions. This presentation will introduce attendees to the Open Textbook Network and offer the chance for representatives from our member schools in attendance at OpenEd16 to share stories from their institutions of how Open Textbook Network programming supported their program development and their results. The panel will also discuss the benefit a network-approach to open education has made on their campuses. Join us to hear these perspectives on the value of working together to increase awareness and adoptions of open textbooks, demonstrate impact, and ultimately advance open education on individual campuses.