The University’s Textbook Task Force has been strategizing to promote textbook affordability through the adoption of open educational resources (OER) and affordable learning materials. Among its initiatives are the addition of a new syllabus policy for affordable learning materials, creating more awareness about OER, and working with Temple Student Government on textbook affordability.
In fall 2020, the Task Force asked faculty to complete a survey on their current use of OER and affordable materials. The survey responses were useful to better understand how often and for what purposes OER and affordable materials are being used at the university. Faculty who responded were also invited to learn more about OER, and university librarians followed up with the 156 faculty members who requested more information.
To better share and leverage the data collected in the survey, the Task Force decided to develop a resource that would allow faculty to access the information that was collected and even add to it. If more faculty could see who else was already using OER and other zero-cost learning materials, they could be encouraged to do so as well. It would also provide faculty with contacts within or beyond their own department who could potentially provide advice and resources for how to eliminate textbooks and other materials that can be expensive for students to purchase.
That information is now available in Temple’s Open and Affordable Learning Materials Inventory [http://library.temple.edu/affordablematerials]. This inventory is a resource for University faculty to use in order to obtain ideas and suggestions for affordable learning materials to adopt. Only Temple faculty/staff can view the Inventory; it is not available to the general public.
When you view the Inventory you will see which faculty members are already using OER and other zero-cost learning materials in place of traditional commercial textbooks. You will see which type of zero-cost material it is: OER; library-licensed content; free/non-OER; or instructor-created content. All OER materials are verified to ensure they are indeed openly licensed content.
Once you are viewing the Inventory, adding your own OER or zero-cost learning materials is easy. First, click on the “+NEW” button on the left side of the top of the page.
That will open a form where you can add your information. There are supplemental notes to provide additional information on each of the form items.
Before your entry is added to the Inventory, it will be reviewed by a member of the Libraries’ Open Education Group. If there are any questions, the reviewer will contact you by email.
We invite you to begin using this Inventory as a resource to identify other faculty in your discipline who are currently using zero-cost learning materials, as well as sharing information about your own use of these materials. Working together, faculty can identify resources that will help our students to have a more affordable education.
Bear in mind this is a first iteration of a faculty inventory for affordable learning materials. Your feedback will help lead to future improvements and enhancements. Please send your comments to this mailbox.
If you have any questions or need additional information about OER, please contact your department’s subject specialist librarian.
Steven J. Bell is Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University Libraries.