Free textbooks are just as effective as costly ones

In a result that will make college students rejoice, a group of researchers at Brigham Young University have found that a free textbook is just as effective as an expensive one.

BYU’s Open Education Group studies open educational resources, free and open-access educational resources they’ve found that can teach students just as well as paid resources.

The group’s research not only showed that students using the free materials do just as well, and in some cases better, than if they were using a pricey textbook, but that the students were also more likely to stick in a course and not drop out.

For low-income students at community colleges, open educational resources might be an effective resource for keeping more students in school.

Lane Fischer, a BYU counseling psychology and special education chair and member of the Open Education Group, said many students will wait to buy their textbooks until weeks after classes begin when their financial aid comes or until they decide they need the textbook for the course. By the time the students get their books, they’re behind and might drop the course.

“That cycle continues for these folks who have lower educational resources,” Fischer said. “This is our most vulnerable group who most need an education and we are making them slow down and hurting them in the process.”

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Grossmont College Partners with OpenStax to Promote Free Textbooks

The high cost of traditional textbooks—an average of somewhere between $600 and $1,400 per student each year, according to studies by NACS and the College Board—not only impacts students’ ability to attend college but also their ability to continue and complete coursework. Open educational resources, including the free, peer-reviewed textbooks offered by OpenStax, eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully.

Grossmont College is committed to student success by reducing high textbook costs for students while still presenting high quality content and protecting academic freedom. Grossmont College appreciates that OpenStax books meet standard scope and sequence requirements, are peer-reviewed by educators, and are easy to implement. They are comparable to textbooks that cost $200 or more and are available for free online and in PDF, and are available at very low cost in print.

Textbooks in the digital world

For decades, textbooks were seen as the foundation for instruction in American schools. These discipline-specific tomes were a fundamental part of the educational infrastructure, assigned to students for each subject and carried in heavy backpacks every day – from home to school and back again.
The experience of students is much different today.
As a scholar of learning technologies and a director for outreach and engagement at Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology, we’ve seen how technological advances and an increase in digital curriculum materials have hastened the move away from textbooks.
Does all of this technology spell the end of traditional textbooks? And if so, is that actually a good thing for students and teachers?

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How To Slash Back To School Costs

Are your kids headed back to school — or are you going back to college or grad school? Get ready to spend big bucks. Back-to-school spending for college is expected to reach $54.1 billion in 2017, with costs for kids in elementary through high school reaching $29.5 billion, per the National Retail Federation’s latest survey. Those figures are up significantly from 2016, when expected spending was $48.5 billion and $27.3 billion, respectively.

For individual families, average spending for college students is estimated at nearly $1,000, while parents of kids in elementary through high school will spend about $690 on average this year.

Electronics and clothing are two of the biggest expenses for anyone going back to school. College students also expect to spend a lot on dorm supplies and food, while parents of younger kids will be putting more cash toward school supplies and shoes than they did in 2016.

The good news is there are deals to be had if you know where to look and are smart about your shopping so you don’t have to blow your budget if you’d rather be a more frugal shopper. Just follow these seven secrets to saving money and you’ll be left with extra cash in your pocket to go towards tuition or other money goals.

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The Cost of Textbooks Are A Huge Obstacle For Poor Students. Here’s A Solution

When we think about the high cost of college, tuition is the first thing that comes to mind. But there’s a “not-so-hidden” cost that often gets a pass because it’s been rooted in college tradition. For years, this cost has been a burden to students, but we haven’t identified ways to cut it because it’s “the way things have always been.” I’m speaking of the cost of textbooks.

On April 12, Governor Andrew Cuomo got it right when he signed legislation that not only provides free tuition but also includes an $8 million investment in open educational resources — known as OER — at the CUNY and SUNY systems. OER are freely available, high-quality materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared — and in my experience are a cost-saver for students that have also helped to improve performance and course completion.
As an open education librarian at CUNY, I’ve seen firsthand how OER are an important part of the solution for addressing the skyrocketing costs of higher education. Read More