As part of Lafayette’s efforts to become more affordable and socioeconomically diverse, the Lafayette College Libraries and Information Technology Services have partnered to create the Open Educational Resources and Affordability Initiative. The initiative encourages Lafayette faculty to replace expensive commercial textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OERs), which are free, high quality learning materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared. The purpose of the Initiative is to support students’ learning through the adoption, adaptation, creation, or reuse of low-cost alternatives to expensive course materials.
The price of textbooks has risen dramatically in recent years, with some individual textbooks costing as much as $300, with required online add-on components that can push the price even higher. Research has shown that price inflation has led many students to forego purchasing textbooks for their classes or avoid choosing classes with expensive texts. In response, more faculty nationwide are creating and sharing their own free alternative textbooks such as those available through OpenStax (https://openstax.org/). The OER movement has gained momentum in the past few years and has saved millions of dollars for students nationwide, while not compromising the effectiveness of teaching and learning.
Lafayette’s program supports faculty who want to make the transition to low-cost alternatives by providing grants and assistance for reworking course syllabi or creating new, free materials. Since the program was announced in May, two grants have been awarded and many faculty have expressed an interest in the initiative. For more information about the goals of the Initiative, please visit https://library.lafayette.edu/oer/.