West Virginia University already belongs to the Open Textbook Network so students and faculty have access to free educational resources, but the challenge now is spreading awareness of those options on campus.
“You have textbooks that are that are being sold that are upwards of $300 for a new textbook, new course material and that’s a lot of money,” said WVU Student Government Association Blake Humphrey.
Humphrey said that’s lot of money that could be saved.
WVU has started promoting the use of open educational resources through workshops for faculty and professors and WVU Libraries, some of whom have changed their courses to use free textbooks and saved students thousands of dollars.
“We have data to show that for that one faculty member and that one course in total we saved the students $85,000,” explained Karen Diaz, Interim Dean of WVU Libraries. “When you can have that kind of impact on one course you can imagine how it could grow if we can create that impact in more courses.”
“That’s taking place all across the campus and I applaud our faculty members,” Humphrey added. “They’ve gone above and beyond in finding innovative ways to deliver course material.”
WVU Libraries are also trying to save students money by borrowing from other libraries or having textbooks for classes on its shelves, but doesn’t have the budget for every course.
“It’s expensive for us to keep a full inventory of all the textbooks that are used on campus,” Diaz said. “We’re talking about over 25,000 classes.”
WVU’s efforts to save students money have gone to the state legislature.
Several delegates introduced House Concurrent Resolution 41 during this session, which would create a Virtual Library Study Commission, with the goal of bringing open text books to West Virginia.
“We’re able to take good ideas that we work on here and work with partners across the state on developing innovative solutions to help classroom teachers in K though 12 and also help other higher education institutions across the state of West Virginia,” Humphrey added.
According to that resolution, the goal of the commission it creates would be to work towards developing a statewide virtual library to give students at all levels access to open textbooks and educational resources.