You won’t see as many traditional textbooks at University of Missouri campuses. System President Mun Choi has launched a system-wide plan to use Open Educational Resources (OER), or class materials that are free for students, and AutoAccess, which is a program that makes textbooks and class materials available online at a lower cost than traditional learning resources.
A working group of faculty, staff and students will be formed this summer to develop a system-wide strategy to increase awareness of affordable and open resources and incentivize the transition to those resources.
“Some students don’t purchase required textbooks because it’s too expensive; it ends up hurting their academic success,” says Nathan Willett, president of the Missouri Students Association. “Any time we can make textbooks or course materials more affordable, it’s a win for students, and the university is still able to provide the same high-quality education.”
Currently, some campuses are already using online resources to reduce the costs of textbooks for students. The working group will review that progress and see how the resources can be shared throughout the system.
“The issue of textbook prices is part of a larger national conversation that is happening in universities throughout the country,” says Scott Curtis, learning and research librarian at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Libraries. “As a library at a major research institution, we provide thousands of educational resources to our students, faculty and staff every day, which enhances the educational opportunities available to students. This affordable and open educational resources initiative is a collaborative effort among our faculty, staff, students and librarians across every University of Missouri campus.”
The average textbook savings for university students varies. Choi says the initiative will help offset an estimated $200 tuition increase per student during the coming academic year.