According to a 2018 survey of students at public colleges and universities in Florida, the high cost of textbooks impacts student success in a variety of ways:
Furthermore, in a 2020 report from the Student PIRGs, out of 4000 students surveyed from over 80 institutions, 25% reported having to work extra hours to afford course materials, 19% made course decisions based on the cost of materials, and 11% went without meals in order to afford course materials. 90% of these students worried that their grades would be affected by not having required course materials.
Benefits of using online open texts, besides cost:
Most open texts can be adapted to fit your specific course and assignment needs.
Open texts can be updated or supplemented periodically to keep up with new developments in the field.
If your textbook is online, you can start using it from the first day of class: no need to provide extra time for students to buy a copy!
See also this literature review of empirical studies on the effects of use of OERs, including open textbooks.
Free textbook alternatives, just like conventionally published textbooks, vary in quality. The directories listed below each have a mechanism for reviewing textbooks to be included.
The UNT Libraries have non-circulating print copies of some of the textbooks from OpenStax available for inspection by faculty members considering adopting them. Please contact John Martin for more information.
Instructors may wish to download a book and make it available through Canvas to ensure that a link to an online version does not break during the semester.
If you're ready to create a textbook and make it free to read online and free to download, there are a couple of options available specifically for UNT faculty:
Contact John.Martin@unt.edu to learn more about either of these opportunities.
Note that if you decided to use material that you authored in your own classroom, you'll need to follow the procedure for getting authorization to do so.
Here are some other resources that could be helpful: