What is it?
Open and affordable textbooks are alternative options to expensive, traditionally published textbooks. An alternative textbook can come in many forms, including open textbooks, other open educational resources (OER), or library resources. Students should be able to access the alternative learning material at little or no cost to them.
Why is it important?
Textbook costs can be a barrier to student learning and success. Some students may forego buying a course textbook due to high costs, negatively impacting their ability to engage with critical course learning. Other students may suffer from the financial burden of higher-cost textbooks. Low and no-cost textbook options allows all students, regardless of personal situations, immediate access to class learning materials.
Open textbooks can also be customized to support course learning objectives. Faculty who struggle with finding a traditional textbook that matches specialized courses may find an open textbook better suited to course and student needs.
Most open textbooks are available in a variety of formats, including print versions. Generally, students will be able to access open materials after course completion, an option they might not have if they rent or borrow a traditional textbook.