Recalculating the Cost of Educational Materials with OERs

Distressed by the high price of textbooks at the start of this school year?  Despise the seemingly endless lines at the campus bookstore?  Can’t figure out what real difference there is between the 5th and 6th edition?  Well, imagine if Open Educational Resources could put an end to these anxieties by providing you with viable alternatives. They are, according to David Bollier.

In his oercommons.org blog post this week, David argues that the Open Educational Resources movement is a significant and growing force that is “challenging unresponsive markets, improving the quality of educational materials and making learning more affordable for everyone.” The Open.Michigan initiative is the University of Michigan’s way of responding to this demand and a way for the University to showcase high-quality options for students and educators alike.

While the chance that you’ll find a textbook to replace the one assigned for your Chemistry 101 course are (at the moment) slim, it is encouraging to know that OERs are certainly gaining ground – especially as more an more authors, publishers, and libraries begin to publish and make accessible materials that encourage use and distribution.  You can certainly encourage your faculty members to make textbooks affordable or turn to a few homegrown examples of projects that are making this happen, including DigitalCultureBooks, MBooks, and the Controls Engineering Wikibook project. For a more comprehensive look at what OERs are available worldwide, perform a search on oercommons.org.

And, if you’re interested in helping create OER materials that can become a part of the worldwide OER movement, read more about the dScribe model of OER publishing and contact the U-M OER team with questions about how to get started.

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