Celebrating International Open Access Week, October 22-28: Open Textbooks

creative commons logoDuring open access week, the UWM Libraries are highlighting ways we can remove barriers to information. Open access provides an opportunity to eliminate obstacles to learning and student success, such as prohibitive textbook costs.

Communication 103 faculty took the open access principles to heart, spearheading an effort that ensures students at UWM no longer pay for a textbook in order to succeed in this course.

In Fall 2018, Communication 103 faculty published an open textbook called Stand Up, Speak Out. Faculty member Leslie Harris identified the original version of this text in the Open Textbook Library. She found that the book provided basic information, but she wanted to tailor it to better suit the learning needs of her students.

Open Textbooks are free or low-cost high-quality textbooks. They are often published with Creative Commons licenses which grant the public permission to revise, reuse, remix, and redistribute and retain copies. Instructors can revise content to include their own expertise, rearrange chapters, and link to the contents of the textbook freely. Students have access to the course materials from day one and can keep copies – even after the semester is over.

Communication 103 faculty remixed the content in Stand Up, Speak Out, editing the existing content and writing additional chapters. Their work was supported by the UWM Libraries and CETL as a part of the Open Textbook and Open Educational Resource Adoption Project.

Stand Up, Speak Out has been used by over 900 students, saving students a total of $60,984 over the course of three semesters. Since the beginning of the Open Textbook and Open Educational Resource Adoption Project in 2016, open textbooks have been adopted in 15 courses at UWM, saving students a total of $1,130,500 in textbook costs.

Check out the UWM Libraries Guide to Open Education Resources to learn about open education, finding open textbooks, and more: http://guides.library.uwm.edu/oers

Contact: open-textbooks@uwm.edu