The University Libraries encourages faculty to consider a transition away from high cost commercial textbooks towards new, more affordable curricular resource strategies. Numerous services have been developed to assist faculty as they consider alternatives to high cost textbooks including open textbooks, digital course packs, copyright and intellectual property advising, and assistance with utilizing existing library collections.
Textbook costs create a financial burden on college students that can impact their academic success. The rising costs of commercial textbooks have continued to outstrip inflation, adversely affecting access to higher education and student learning as students forgo buying textbooks altogether. Open textbooks can help alleviate the burden of textbook costs. Open textbooks are full, real textbooks that are licensed to be freely used, edited, and distributed. An increasing number of quality open textbooks are available for faculty to choose from. Projects such as Open Textbook Library and OpenStax College provide access to free, peer-reviewed textbooks covering a wide variety of subjects.
Digital Course Packs
Digital course packs combine different course-related materials into a single point of access, online and in an easily accessible format. Course materials may be library licensed items, lawfully determined fair use items, open access materials, or materials that may require small royalty payments. Digital course packs provided by the libraries are more affordable and accessible for students, deliver course content online through a variety of devices (such as iPads), deliver content through a variety of services (such as Moodle), and streamline the course pack creation process for faculty and instructors, providing them with the guidance and services they need to deliver the best, high quality, and most appropriate course content for their students.
Copyright and Intellectual Property Advising
Many instructors worry about copyright issues that arise in the course of teaching - showing films, sharing readings, claiming fair use, and a host of other issues. Many other instructors have not thought much about these concerns. The Libraries can help advise faculty concerning these issues and more. Faculty are encouraged to consult with Nancy Sims, Copyright Program Librarian, to learn more about copyright and intellectual property in the online course environment. The Copyright Information and Resources site, as well as a variety of workshops, are available to help faculty consider copyright law and its impact on teaching and curriculum.
Content Discovery and Acquisition
The University Libraries can help instructors find customized course content and materials already purchased through the University Libraries. The Libraries have access to thousands of full-text databases, journals, and e-books that can easily be integrated into the course environment. Utilizing library content saves students money. In addition, the University Libraries will investigate strategic purchases for new materials for direct course support.