Thoughts on OER and Cost Savings | David Wiley | iterating toward openness
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-08-09
"...What strikes me as odd about OpenStax’s new way of calculating the savings associated with OER is that it ignores some fairly important and well-understood things about student spending when faculty adopt OER – things OpenStax has a made a pillar of their long-term sustainability plan. And if you’re going to update the way you figure savings, why not fix all the issues with your savings estimate at once? In her 2010 whitepaper for the Student PIRGS titled A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks are the Path to Textbook Affordability, Nicole Allen estimated that students whose faculty adopt OER spend, on average, $27.68 (see Table 3, page 12). This figure is explained further in the section titled “Open textbooks could reduce costs by 80% overall.” (Spoiler: some students purchase a printed version of the open textbook, some students spend money printing chapters themselves at Kinkos, etc.) This research is now eight years old and definitely needs to be refreshed. Student attitudes toward print and reading online have likely changed. The cost of purchasing a printed copy of an open textbook may have changed, though the average price of a printed OpenStax title doesn’t seem to be any lower than the average price of the Flat World Knowledge titles Nicole’s research examined. But regardless of how and how much these indicators have moved, the main point here is this – the amount of savings that come from OER adoption does not equal 100% of what students would have paid for other materials. While the field more broadly desperately needs an updated version of Nicole’s research, OpenStax does not. They already know how much money students spend when their faculty adopt OpenStax...."