UConn Open-source Textbook Program a Success

September 7, 2016

Yesterday Sen. Mae Flexer and I held a press conference at the UConn bookstore to announce the results of UConn's open-source textbook pilot program.

The program was created by the legislature last year through Special Act No. 15-18, which charged the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut to each launch a pilot program to assess and promote the use of digital open-source textbooks. A report released on August 9 detailed the progress made in educating students and faculty about open-source textbooks and showed significant student savings.

The cost of textbooks has skyrocketed within the last decade. Since 2006, the cost of textbooks has increased by 73 percent. A 2014 report stated that two-thirds of students chose not to purchase or rent a required course textbook, even though it could affect their grade.

The UConn task force obtained funding for faculty, led by Dr. Edward Neth, to create an open-source chemistry textbook. The textbook is available to students this semester, and will impact nearly 2,000 students for a savings of approximately $600,000.

The results of this program show that the use of open-source textbooks can be expanded, offering an affordable alternative that’s convenient for both students and faculty. This is an important step in making higher education accessible to students of all backgrounds.

To read more about the program, check out this great article by the Daily Campus.