Welcome to the second installment of Diamond’s Hidden Gems, a blog series in which I introduce you to the University of Central Florida’s library services that you may not have known about! The cost of textbooks and course materials is a significant but often overlooked barrier to affording a degree. Being able to afford your […]
The rising cost of textbooks and course materials is a significant but often overlooked barrier to affording a degree.
The UCF Libraries’ Textbook Affordability initiative works with campus partners and faculty to minimize the cost of course materials for students while maintaining the quality of educational materials and respecting academic freedom.
Library-sourced eBooks (eTextbooks) and materials, open educational resources (OER), and print reserves are the three primary ways the library supports affordability.
Since 2016, UCF faculty have taught over 2,317 classes using library-sourced materials, in turn reaching over 107,072 students and potentially saving them over $7.9 million. Read about how we calculate savings.
The cost of textbooks impacts student behaviors, and having access to required materials improves student success.
Faculty are awarded for their textbook affordability efforts through the annual UCF AIM High Impact Awards and others.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Materials can include diverse perspectives when faculty adopt, adapt, or create open educational resources (OER).
LEGAL & SECURE
Open or library materials are accessed legally and safely, unlike illegally pirated material often infected with malware.
Students can afford to take more courses and drop fewer courses if textbooks or required materials are free or low-cost.
Open or library eBooks are available immediately on first day of class, and many are available for permanent download.
Textbook prices have increased to around 160% over the past 20 years, even when controlling for an overall inflation rate of 60.1%. With students expected to pay on average over $1,200 annually for books and supplies, some commercial textbook publishers have effectively priced textbooks out of reach for many college students.
The cost of textbooks impacts student academic behaviors, and not having access to required materials can compromise student success. Responses to a 2018 statewide survey (n=21,000) indicate that 64.2% of Florida higher education students have not purchased a required textbook due to cost. Further, 42.8% have taken fewer courses, 40.5% have not registered for a specific course, and 35.6% attributed earning a poor grade to textbook cost.
Faculty can help reduce the cost of a college education and positively impact student academic performance by removing the barrier of high cost, commercially produced textbooks.
In partnership with UCF’s Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) Initiative through the Office of the Provost, the UCF Libraries’ Textbook Affordability program offers solutions and support to faculty and students in three ways: library-sourced eBooks, open educational resources (OER), and print textbook reserves.
UCF faculty members who have made a significant impact toward affordable instructional materials are recognized and awarded during the annual UCF AIM High events.
CHRISTIAN BECK“As a long-time advocate for open and free knowledge, I have been able to develop free textbooks for two of my large literature survey courses by using openly licensed material. Students that take ENL2012 and LIT2110 are not always literature majors and were previously obligated to purchase large, expensive anthologies. By developing Open Educational Resources (OER) for my students, I not only help the students save money on textbooks, but I’m able to integrate, arrange, and highlight particular texts that a corporate publisher might not include or discuss in their anthology. READ MORE
RICK BIEHL“Engineering textbooks are really expensive. I am always scouring the UCF Libraries search page for materials that are available for my students as online free resources. When I find them, I adopt whatever I can into my courses in lieu of paid resources and texts. I always note the URL links to these materials in my 60-day and 30-day advance welcome messages that I send my students so that they learn as early as possible that they don’t need to purchase materials. I then also include those URL links directly in my syllabus, and I create a separate External URL link for each text in the initial General module in my WebCourses@UCF course. READ MORE
ANNABELLE CONROY“Equity and inclusiveness are very important to me. While I always tried to achieve this by carefully curating my reading list, the turning point for me came when one of my students said, “I always look at the cost of the textbooks before I sign up for a class and I was hoping yours was not too expensive because I really wanted to take this class.” It suddenly dawned on me that regardless of how careful we are in designing a class, if the textbooks and other materials are unaffordable, the whole class becomes inaccessible to students who do not have the means to spend hundreds of dollars in addition to tuition, housing, meals, and transportation. READ MORE
Did you know that the library and instructional designers work with faculty to find free course materials? Choice invited the Textbook Affordability Librarian, Lily Dubach, and Sr. Instructional Designer, Dr. John Raible, to speak about a couple examples at UCF. They highlighted an open educational resource (OER) project and library-sourced eBooks, two options that faculty […]
Librarian Lily Dubach shares ways that students and faculty can access campus resources for the semester. https://www.ucf.edu/news/how-to-save-money-on-textbooks-at-ucf/