Battle over College Course Material is a Textbook Example of Technological Change

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A revolution in college course materials is raising questions about cost, access and fairness. Publishers say their high-tech courseware — electronic books glowing with videos and interactive study guides — can improve the quality of learning at a small fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks. But student advocates call for adoption of open-source textbooks that can be downloaded for free, and worry that the same companies that drove up the price of print textbooks are dominating the digital space and will ultimately introduce higher costs there. Now, Congress has stepped into the fray by committing $5 million in the fiscal 2018 budget to support the creation or expansion of open textbooks on college campuses. The money is the first major investment by the federal government in open-source materials and could advance the movement.

Read the story in the Washington Post

CoP note: The University of Richmond Library supports the use of OER (open educational resources) in classes. Visit the OER libguide or contact Lucretia McCulley for details.

Daniel Hocutt

Web Manager and Adjunct Professor of English for the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies.