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The Vernon R. Alden Library on August 29, 2016. (OLIVER HAMLIN | FOR THE POST)

OU to begin using Open Textbook Network, a free textbook resource

Textbook prices can drastically affect a student’s bank account, but faculty members at Ohio University Libraries are looking to reduce those costs.

Open Textbook Network, or OTN, a resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks, will start being used on campus come fall semester.

Kelly Broughton, the assistant dean for research & education services at OU, said, as a member of OTN, OU Libraries now has access to a suite of materials to adapt to the faculty at OU in support of efforts to reduce the costs of course materials to students.

“These materials include information and guides on adopting, modifying and authoring open textbooks, data collection tools and instructional support,” Broughton said in an email.

Students will be able to access an online library and search for textbooks from different categories ranging from humanities to economics. In the fall, OTN will be on campus in Athens to begin working with Alden Library to set up OU Libraries' initiative of lowering textbook costs.

“Our first effort with OTN will be October 17 when OTN staff will be in Alden Library hosting workshops for faculty, librarians and instructional designers,” Broughton said in an email.

Thanks @open_textbooks! Looking forward to continuing the conversation about open resources @ohiou this fall. #

— Alden Library (@AldenLibrary) July 20, 2017

OTN has more than 500 members, including many MAC schools, such as Bowling Green State University, Miami University and the University of Toledo.

Sara Bushong, the dean of university libraries at BGSU, said that university joined OTN in the spring of 2017 and is planning for a campus visit by OTN’s faculty.

“Our visit is planned for October 2,” she said in an email. “(The visit) will include an opportunity for campus faculty to participate in a session to learn about how open textbooks is an opportunity to help lower the cost of textbooks for students.”

Open textbooks are available online for no charge to students, Bushong said — all a student needs is a URL from their professor or faculty member to access an open textbook.

Access to OTN’s catalog and reviews of open textbooks was funded by OU Libraries.

“Membership in OTN, which gives us access to their expertise, workshops, staff travel and participation in the Open Textbook Summit and other resources was a one-time cost of $5,000, which the Libraries funded,” Broughton said in an email.

Alden Library is working with faculty members at both OU and OTN to adopt a plan when it comes to using open textbooks for their courses. Broughton said some math and physics courses at OU are working to implement open textbooks into their courses.


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