The Provost recently sent out a reminder about submitting information about required class materials to the UK Bookstore. This information is transferred into the UK Class Schedule for the appropriate term, allowing for student enrollees to see what is required for the class.
This is a great way to promote the rigor of academic expectations for your class, and is an opportunity for you to choose free and open content as a contribution to lowering the high cost of a college education in Kentucky. Lower textbook costs for our students, especially those whose financial aid is insufficient to cover the costs, allows them to take courses they might not otherwise be able to afford, work fewer hours at low paying jobs to pay for the cost of textbooks, and reduce the burden of student debt. Most exciting about designing courses at UK around free access materials is that student performance might be improved when the open text can be tailored to the course by the instructor. Students then benefit not only financially, but in the quality of the education at UK.
There are many resources to help you think about the movement behind open access for higher education:
- Richard Baraniuk, an architect of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration which aims to accelerate efforts to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education (http://www.capetowndeclaration.org); founder of Connexions, an environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web (http://cnx.org); and Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Rice University.
- David Wiley, also a leader of the Cape Town Declaration; Chief Openness Officer for Flat World Knowledge, a new approach to college textbooks offering rigorously reviewed textbooks online free of cost to students, as well as Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning; and Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology & Technology at Brigham Young University.
- Nicole Allen, leader of the Student Public Interest Research Groups or PIRGs’ Make Textbooks Affordable campaign, which aims to develop a textbook market with both a vibrant used book market and a plethora of learning content that is priced and sold fairly.
- Mark Nelson, Digital Content Strategist for the National Association of College Stores, the trade association representing the higher education retail industry. He facilitates NACS three-pronged digital course materials strategy—partnerships, enhanced trade infrastructure, and education and awareness (http://www.nacs.org).
In 2008 Congress passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA). A portion of the HEOA requires faculty members to submit textbook and other instructional material information to university bookstores by a specified due date. Our date for submitting information about our courses’ Winter 2015 and Spring 2016 materials was November 1, 2015. According to the Provost’s message, the UK Bookstore has received only 50 percent of the orders for offered courses during the Winter and Spring terms. He reminds us that all textbook and course materials orders must be submitted to the UK Textbook Information listserv via the web-based form available at:
UK’s instructional staff and faculty have an opportunity to think more deeply about how we want to address this important issue – and in close partnership with our student leadership.