UMD joins Open Textbook Network
The University of Maryland Libraries are pleased to announce membership in the Open Textbook Network, an alliance of higher education institutions working to improve access, affordability and academic success through the use of open textbooks.
Student groups on campus view open textbooks—freely available and not restricted by copyright—as a welcome solution to help ease the burden of high textbook costs. According to the university’s Office of Admissions, students spend an average of $1,130 on books and supplies. A survey by the Student Government Association revealed that 48 percent of students say textbook prices affect which or how many classes they take.
The University of Maryland joins more than 350 member institutions in the Open Textbook Network who work together to advance the use and impact of open textbooks. Experts from the network will lead workshops on campus this fall to promote the adoption and use of open textbooks by faculty. Hundreds of open textbooks are available through the network’s online library.
A new textbook loan program, established by the University Libraries in 2015, has emerged as a parallel effort to ease the cost of textbooks for students. The Top Textbooks program loans textbooks for the 100 largest courses on campus for four hours at a time. The Student Government Association made a contribution of $13,115 through Launch, the university’s crowdfunding platform, to sustain and grow the program in the spring of 2016.
This year, students in the dean’s advisory group are organizing a textbook drive through which students can donate unwanted books to the University Libraries. In-demand textbooks will become part of the loan program.
“The stress students feel when they arrive to class, ready to work hard and learn, only to discover the cost of textbooks for a course are beyond their means is a reality for far too many students,” says Fasika Delessa, SGA’s vice president of academic affairs and a member of the library’s advisory group. “Open-sourced materials provide an affordable alternative that can make all the difference.”
The University Libraries have long been leaders in supporting open access to information. In 2015, the University Libraries, Teaching and Learning Transformation Center and Student Government Association collaborated to create a website of open education resources.
Similarly, DRUM, the institutional repository for the University of Maryland, provides public access to the scholarly output of the university. Faculty and researchers share and preserve a wide range of products, from articles, books and technical reports to theses and dissertations.