Blair Horner: Colleges Open And Students Experience Textbook Sticker Shock | WAMC

“Open textbooks are faculty-written and peer-reviewed like traditional textbooks, but they are published under an open license, meaning they are free online, free to download, and affordable in print. 80% of students surveyed said they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook were free online and a hard copy was optional, which is exactly how open textbooks work.  Open textbooks save students $100 per student, per course on average.

And there is movement in the direction of such open textbooks.
More than 2,500 faculty members from 750 U.S. colleges have signed the Faculty Statement on Open Textbooks, which expresses their intent to consider using high-quality open textbooks whenever appropriate.
The government can help by investing funds and programmatic support to create more open textbooks. Investment from the government would fast-track the production of vital high-quality classroom ready texts, as well as providing colleges and faculty the resources they need to use available open textbooks in their classroom immediately.

The Washington Open Course Library has developed open course materials – including open textbooks – for the 81 highest enrolled courses in Washington’s community and technical colleges. The program, funded by an initial investment of $1.8 million, has so far saved students $5.5 million since its inception, including $2.8 million in student savings so far this semester….”