According to the Census Bureau, the costs of college textbooks have risen 812% from 1978 to 2012. Amid the concerns about the costs of higher education and to alleviate students’ financial burdens, some educators have switched to library resources and/or openly licensed peer-reviewed materials (open educational resources, OER) in place of traditional textbooks. Not only is OER free of charge to students, but it allows instructors to customize the content to suit their pedagogical needs and provide students with up-to-date information on the subject. The past few years have witnessed a rise in the use of OER in higher education, and studies demonstrate that OER has helped students save thousands of dollars in the course of their university careers.
To celebrate Open Access Week, which was held October 24-30, the University of Kentucky Libraries presented a panel discussion about the use and impact of OER. University Press of Kentucky director Leila Salisbury discussed the benefits of OER in a presentation: Open Educational Resources: Faculty, Libraries, Publishers, and Students Working Together. Salisbury also moderated an enlightening Q&A discussion with UK’s Allison Soult, and Jeff Gallant of Affordable Learning Georgia.