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President's Podcast: Text Book Costs & Open Texts

2017-7-books-nsee-archiveSolutions for Higher Education engages in deeper reflection of critical issues in the world of colleges and universities.

In Episode 10, President Scott L Wyatt, Professor Steve Meredith, and Dr. Richard Saunders discuss the affordability of higher education, specifically the cost of textbooks and how SUU is reducing costs for students.Approximately 70% of students who go to college choose not to buy a textbook in at least one of their classes each term. Dr. Richard Saunders, SUU’s Dean of Library Services, is on the forefront of an open resource revolution that will change the way students use textbooks in the classroom.

“SUU has put together a four-year initiative to systematically go through the General Education courses specifically to see what texts can be replaced with ‘open’ texts, meaning there is a free or reduced license to use the content,” said Saunders. “A good textbook is a good textbook, and a lot of these open source books are peer reviewed, just like the off-the-shelf books higher education has been using for the last century.”

There are university libraries around the world working to supply textbooks on a tight budget to students. This open movement could be a global education revolution, supplying quality material to anyone interested in learning.

“It would be interesting to see the cost of textbooks over the next few years cut in half because of open source books,” said Wyatt. “It would make a significant improvement for students’ experience, both learning more because they would have direct access to the content intended for the course. It would increase the learning experience, grades, retention, and ultimately student success.”

An SUU professor conducted his own silent experiment, comparing grades and retention of his students in sections using a commercial text versus sections using an open text. He found there was about a 15% increase in completion, showing a high correlation between students completing classes because of the open textbook.

SUU’s goal is to always help students learn and have great learning outcomes and career options after they graduate. In order to do that, SUU is making the educational experience better and reducing costs while getting more materials in front of students.


Listen to Episode 10 here:


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