Open, Textbooks

Saving students money with OER IRL

There are many advantages to incorporating and using OER’s in education, but perhaps one of the most obviously compelling is that using OER’s saves money for students. Today, another reminder of just how substantial those savings can be as David Wiley posted on the first year anniversary of Lumen Learning, showing that the work Lumen is doing has saved post-secondary students $700,000 in textbook costs.

This spring, OpenStax College released some stats from their first year in operation that showed their textbooks have saved students $2.3 million dollars.

Here in BC, we are still early on with regards to adoption so we don’t have the same kind of aggregate numbers that Lumen or OpenStax has. But I do want to give an example of the kind of scale of savings we can achieve in BC by focusing on one adoption.

This fall, Takashi Sato, physics instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, adopted the free OpenStax College Physics textbook to use in his Physics class.  What that press release doesn’t note for some reason, is the savings to students taking Tak’s Physics class. he textbook Tak was using cost students $187 dollars. His class has 60 students. Do the math and you can see that moving to the OpenStax free textbook and Tak has saved students $11,220.

1 class at 1 institution for 1 term. $11,220 savings.

Let’s do a bit of math here. 25 institutions in BC. If all we have is 1 instructor like Tak with a similar class load and expensive textbook adopt an open textbook, it would save students in BC $280, 500 EACH TERM.

Saving students over a quarter of a million dollars each term is significant.

One instructor.

CC BY 4.0 Saving students money with OER IRL by Clint Lalonde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Wrangler of learning technologies by day, Dad, cyclist, soccer fan and, lately, home roaster of coffee by night. INFJ. I am the Manager of Educational Technologies at BCcampus, working primarily on open education projects. This blog is a personal blog and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BCcampus.