Trying to find ways to make college more affordable is an important task for everyone at the University. The Libraries and the Office of Distance Education and e-Learning have been working together to advance this issue. One important step is to help teaching faculty understand the issue and the options which are available to them related to new kinds of textbooks, in particular open educational resources which are freely available.

Upcoming Workshops

In case you missed this is News Notes last week:

The Ohio State University Libraries and Office of Distance Education and eLearning are partnering with the University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library Project to promote open educational resources at Ohio State. Events include an open presentation on open educational resources and workshops for faculty and librarians on using OERs. All three events will be held February 17.

There is a workshop for librarians from 1–2:30 p.m. in Thompson Library Room 165. All subject liaisons are encouraged to attend but others are welcome as well. The faculty workshop from 1:30–3p.m. is by invitation. We are targeting faculty in large enrollment courses for which there is a textbook available in the Open Textbook Library (

The subject liaisons for these courses are working on recruiting people in these areas. However, if there is a textbook available in your subject area and you would like to invite a faculty member or instructor to the workshop, please contact Nancy Courtney, After the workshop, participants will be asked to write a short review of an open textbook for which they will receive a $200 stipend. There will also be an open presentation on OERs from 4–5:30 p.m. on the 11th floor of Thompson.

Please encourage any of your faculty to attend this event. More about these events is available


What are other Universities Doing?

There are lots of examples of reports and work in this area but here are just a few to pique your interest.

NC State Offers Grants to Help Faculty Develop Textbook Alternatives

This example from NC State is very similar to our course enhancement grant process. As we think about how we can help the University tackle affordability issues, perhaps this is a good example to emulate.

The NCSU Libraries is inviting North Carolina State University faculty to apply for grants to adopt, adapt, or create free or low-cost open alternatives to today’s expensive textbooks.

Ranging between $500 and $2,000, the competitive Alt-Textbook grants will be awarded to help faculty pursue innovative uses of technology and information resources that can replace pricey traditional textbooks.  Larger grants may be available for larger-scale or especially high-impact projects. …

Grants are available to develop textbook alternatives for the Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 semesters. Possible approaches include:

  • creating a new open textbook or collection of materials
  • adopting an existing open textbook
  • assembling a collection of open resources into new course materials
  • licensing an e-textbook, video, or other media content for classroom use or e-reserves
  • using subscribed library resources

University of Wisconsin Stout’s Textbook Rental Project

This textbook rental program isn’t a new thing – per this article, they’ve been “renting textbooks to student for longer than any of us have been alive.”

“the school has been testing the idea in a pilot program with the plan of using digital textbooks in up to 80% of the courses taught at UW-Stout by 2016. The pilot program started last Fall and included around 200 students in 5 class sections. It was expanded this Spring to cover 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students using in 40 different courses.”

Their online site for students has lots of interesting logistical information on the Commonly Asked Questions page.

Michigan State Libraries’ Course Pack Business

At the last CIC Directors’ meeting, I heard an interesting discussion about the role of the Michigan State University Libraries in course pack creation and distribution. This page – — gives more information about the instructions they provide to instructors in preparing the course pack master.