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Ohio University tapped to join State of the State panel on textbook affordability


An Ohio University administrator will share the University’s efforts to increase textbook affordability as part of activities surrounding the upcoming State of the State.

Kelly Broughton, assistant dean of Ohio University Libraries, will join a panel discussion on college textbooks and the state of affordable learning initiatives in Ohio. The discussion, moderated by OhioLINK, will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 6 at Otterbein University’s Towers Hall. The forum is free and open to the public, and no RSVP is required.

“Our librarians have found that OHIO faculty are very interested in identifying mechanisms to reduce course materials costs for students,” said Scott Seaman, Dean of Libraries.

 “I look forward to sharing our experiences and learning from other institutions at the State of the State panel in Columbus,” Broughton added.

OHIO continues to demonstrate its commitment to affordability and access for all students via a variety initiatives, including a Textbook Initiative that was launched by the office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. The initiative includes multiple strategies to reduce course materials cost.

Some OHIO faculty members are also early adopters of open resource materials, which has demonstrated a cost savings to students through the availability of textbooks and other course materials. In Fiscal Year 2017, the various efforts led to students seeing $740,563 in textbook savings, including through renting books, the Alt-Textbook Initiative and a three-year pilot implementation of Top Hat personal response system as an enterprise service to foster classroom engagement.

”As we continue to develop strategies to enhance student success, we must remain sensitive to the themes of affordability and accessibility,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “These initiatives have already saved students thousands of dollars in their early stages while enhancing the quality of education and I expect the broader impact to be tremendous.”

Through the partnership with Top Hat, which was announced in October, students will realize an estimated savings of $500,000 per semester through the successful adoption of open education resources. Using the program, faculty can create interactive content and homework and tests and discover new course content.

Ohio University Libraries also joined the Open Textbook Network in the fall. The nationwide consortium of about 600 academic institutions collaborates to encourage the use and growth of open educational materials.

The University also conducted a digital textbook pilot program this spring to provide immediate access to digital course materials at a significantly lower cost. Students enrolled in select sections of certain courses received access to digital copies of their course materials on the first day of the semester. These materials are available to students at the lowest price point OHIO can negotiate with publishers.

“Each of OHIO’s initiatives, including joining the Open Textbook Network, partnering with Top Hat and kicking off the Textbook Initiative, are aimed at making college more affordable,,” said Senior Vice Provost for Instructional Innovation Brad Cohen. "We are committed to doing all we can to control the cost of instruction while maintaining the high quality and value of an OHIO education."