Why Open Education?

The increasing cost of textbooks is a significant concern for college students. In fact, a 2022 survey of 1,913 ISU undergraduates found that due to high course material costs:

  • 91% of students delayed purchasing required course materials
  • 70% of students tried to pass without purchasing required materials
  • 65% of students downloaded illegal copies of materials online
  • 34% of students had to purchase textbooks instead of groceries
  • 23% of students dropped a course, affecting their progress toward graduation

The Iowa State University Library is dedicated to addressing and improving this situation through the use of OER and other no-cost course materials. The benefits of using OER go beyond affordability:

Benefits for Faculty

  • Increases student retention and improves student performance by reducing costs1
  • Promotes academic freedom to modify or add content to your course
  • Can support your Scholarship of Teaching & Learning portfolio

Benefits for Students

  • OER are free to access and can be purchased in print at a low cost
  • OER can be accessed before, during, and after a course
  • OER are free self-study and review materials for brushing up on material

Build engagement with open pedagogy

Other open educational practices, like open pedagogy, can also improve student engagement in class.2 Open pedagogy is "the practice of engaging with students as creators of information rather than simply consumers of it. It's a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation. The products of open pedagogy are student created and openly licensed so that they may live outside of the classroom in a way that has an impact on the greater community."3 You can learn more about open pedagogy on the ISU OER website.

      1Arnold, J. (2017, August 2). OER as an intervention tool to support student retention. Saylor Academy blog. Retrieved from https://www.saylor.org/2017/08/blog-oer-as-an-intervention-tool-to-support-student-retention/

      2Bonica, M., Judge, R., Bernard, C., & Murphy, S. (2018). Open pedagogy benefits to competency development:
      From sage on the stage to guy in the audience. Journal of Health Administration Education, 35(1), 9-27.

      3University of Texas, Arlington Libraries. (2022, December 9). Introduction to Open Pedagogy. Retrieved from https://libguides.uta.edu/openped/intro