OER as an Institutional Survival Strategy | Confessions of a Community College Dean
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-01-29
"Shift focus from “tuition and fees” to “total cost of attendance,” and foster the adoption of OER at scale. Money not spent on textbooks can offset tuition increases from a student perspective, while still allowing needed operating revenue to flow to the institution.
In the right context, done well, OER represents the rare win-win. A student facing a tuition increase of, say, a hundred dollars a semester probably breaks even with a single course moving to OER, and comes out ahead if two or more courses do. Tuition may go up, but total cost of attendance -- the meaningful number -- remains flat or even drops. Even better, OER allows every single student to have the book from the first day of class, which can help with course completion and retention, and therefore enrollment. (One of the most powerful predictors of retention is GPA. Students with GPA’s below 2.0 drop out at much higher rates than students above 2.0. Not having the book affects academic performance; presumably, having the book may affect it in a positive way.) You can maintain a sustainable funding level for the college, keep costs down for students, and improve retention rates at the same time.
In essence, it redirects revenue from publishers to colleges and students. Yes, that takes a bite out of some commercial publishers, but that’s their problem. They should have thought of that before charging $300 for an Intro to Physics textbook, or before bundling non-transferable software codes with textbooks to short-circuit the used book market....
I ran some back-of-the-envelope numbers for Brookdale over the last few days, to see how much money OER has saved or will save students in the coming year. Based only on courses that have already committed to adopting it, we’re looking at over a million dollars per year in textbook cost savings...."