2019 Open Textbook Workshop Report

By | July 23, 2019

Open Oregon Educational Resources has offered open textbook review workshops since joining the Open Textbook Network (OTN) on behalf of Oregon’s 17 community colleges in 2015; membership was extended to the 7 universities as well beginning in 2017. The OTN model has two parts: a faculty workshop presenting open textbooks as a way to solve the problem of high textbook prices, followed by the opportunity for faculty to earn a $200 stipend to write a review of a book in the Open Textbook Library. The OTN finds that faculty who write an in-depth review of an open textbook are much more likely to adopt the book in their classes.

The cumulative data in Oregon show the value of this program: the workshops have resulted in an estimated $2,383,200 in student savings since 2015, representing $19.89 in student savings per program dollar spent. In all, 640 faculty have attended OER review workshops. Of those attendees, 407 wrote reviews of OER, and 156 report an adoption of OER.

This savings estimate, while exciting, may underreport the real impact of the program. Oregon beta-tested a new data dashboard that the OTN is building and as a result the campaign to request adoption and enrollment data from faculty was not as effective as in past years. It is possible that at the end of the next biennium, with the dashboard fully functional, we may be able to retrospectively report on savings not included here. With Oregon’s program scaling up, finding efficiencies through the use of the dashboard is well worth the tradeoff of potentially incomplete reporting this year.

Another change is the option for faculty to review OER or alternative course materials not available through the Open Textbook Library. This option was innovated by Jennifer Lantrip, Research and Instruction Librarian at Umpqua Community College, and described in more detail in the article Extending Open Textbook Network Workshop and Reviews to Include All OER and Library Materials.

The OER Review Workshop program grew steadily in the 2017-19 biennium with 27 workshops offered at 14 institutions, attended by 240 faculty. During this time period, 153 faculty wrote reviews of textbooks in the Open Textbook Library, and 10 faculty wrote reviews of other resources (collected in a folder in OER Commons). These recent workshops resulted in 45 known new adoptions and an estimated $65,200 in student savings, which is expected to compound as more time passes.

By the numbers

2017 2019
Total program costs $43,216.72 $119,797.74
Estimated student savings to date $607,700 $2,383,200
Estimated student savings per  program dollar spent $14.06 $19.89
Faculty participants who wrote reviews 71% 64%
Faculty participants who adopted open textbooks 27% 24%
Faculty reviewers who adopted open textbooks 38% 38%