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Adams State University
Nielsen Library

Open Educational Resources

Information for Faculty & Staff about OER

Why OER at Adams?

The traditional textbook industry poses challenges to nearly all students at nearly all academic institutions worldwide. See the "Challenges of Traditional Textbooks" box on the "Home" tab of this research guide for just a few of the reasons.

Adams State University is located in the San Luis Valley, home to some of the most impoverished and socio-economically challenged counties in Colorado -- and sometimes in the nation! Our unique student demographics means that high textbook costs impact Grizzlies to an even greater extent than average college students. As our Mission [Purpose], Vision, and Values statements all reflect, we at Adams State strive to serve the Valley's, Colorado's, and the region's most under-served populations. Assigning textbooks and/or course materials (like homework platforms) that put a severe strain on student finances is one of few elements of "education costs" that we can control, and OERs are a solution.

Our Spring 2022 Impact of Textbook Costs on Students survey asked, "Have you faced housing- or food-insecurity, or experienced homelessness in the past 18 months?" A staggering 25.6% of our students responded that YES, they had experienced housing-, food-, or both housing- and food-insecurity recently. Looking at a word cloud [source unknown] of what students would spend money on if they did not (have to) buy textbooks, you can see how profoundly this cost-savings could impact our Grizzlies.


Word Cloud of what students would spend their money on if they didn't (have to) buy textbooks - Food, rent, bills, and health/insurance are biggest responses

Source unknown: Word-Cloud of how (non-ASU) students would spend their money if they didn't (have to) buy textbooks.

DEI at Adams

This tab is under construction as Nielsen Library works with campus DEI Lead Heidi Schneider to explore this approach to Open Educational Resources and Practices.


Local Survey Data: ASU-specific Impacts of Textbook Costs

The information included here comes directly from surveys conducted by Amanda Langdon, OER Librarian with IRB Approval (exemption). The first survey (Summer 2019) was co-created by Kat Parker and Amanda Langdon.

Data from Spring 2022 Survey will be added soon! No survey was conducted Spring 2023, although we are planning to distribute another survey in Fall (Aug./Sept.) 2023.

Major takeaways from 2021 Student Survey include:

45.2% of undergrads forego purchasing at least some (20% or more) of their texts. 11.5% of graduates forego purchasing the same amount.

12.5% of all students purchase <50% of their texts. This is the same percentage of students who reported not having reliable internet, or access to a tech device to access online material (2019).

62.7% (3/4) of undergraduates are skipping reading at least some (20% or more) of their assigned readings. 21.3% (1 in 5) grads skip reading.

While 69% reported purchasing 80-100% of their texts, only about 55% report actually reading that percentage of texts. 26.7% (more than a quarter) of students are reading 50% or less of their assigned texts. That means that students are paying for material they're not reading.

28.9% of undergrads don't buy expensive material, and only read free content.

71.2% of students said they would be more likely to read the assigned texts if faculty reworked the course to be free.

40.4% of undergrads and 27% of graduates are trying to work from earlier or older editions of assigned texts.

45.2% of undergrads and 59% of graduates wanted to keep rented texts, but couldn't afford to.

When it comes to saving money on textbooks and course materials, each student reports an average of 4 different avenues attempted (looking at Chegg or Amazon, sharing books with classmates, renting instead of buying, buying used instead of new, or skipping purchase altogether).

The presentation below (PDF) highlights differences between undergraduate and graduate information.

Major takeaways from 2020 Student Survey include:

98.8% of students experience stress (some to always) when purchasing textbooks/course materials, up from 93.6% last year.

While 84.6% of students feel they learn best with traditional print readings, enough students expressed interest in other formats (36% prefer pictorial/graphic information; 17% prefer audio formats; and 36% prefer video) that OER's offerings of multimedia resources may enhance student learning and/or engagement.

~71% of students require or prefer paper/printed readings, up 15% from last year. Contact the Print Shop (email Peggy Dunn) for low-cost print-on-demand options.

59% of students rate offline availability as important or very important, down 14% from last year.

~12% of students report not having reliable access to the internet or a tech device when not on campus. Another reason why DRM restrictions on traditional textbooks hurt underrepresented students, if they're unable to print copies for off-campus reading.

46% of students rate perpetual access as important or very important, down 4% from last year.

76% of students sometimes, frequently, or always have to take textbook/materials costs into consideration before registering for classes.

29% of students did not register for one or more courses due to textbook/materials costs.

18% of students have failed one or more courses due to textbook/materials costs.

17% of students have withdrawn from one or more courses due to textbook/materials costs.

Major takeaways from 2019 Student Survey include: 

93.6% of students experience stress (some to always) when purchasing textbooks/course materials. Who needs more stress in their lives?

+56% of students require or prefer paper -- solution? Contact the Print Shop (email Peggy Dunn) for low-cost print-on-demand options.

+73% of students rate offline availability as important or very important -- traditional publishers/textbooks' use of DRM (digital rights management) software prevents downloading and printing for offline reading.

+50% of students rate perpetual access as important or very important -- being able to keep material after the end of the term, or beyond graduation. Digital access codes and eBooks (rental or purchased) expire, not allowing students to maintain access.

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