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Affordable Learning Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan University's Affordable Learning Initiatives

Ohio Wesleyan UniversityMany groups on the Ohio Wesleyan campus have been working to address the issue of textbook affordability. Recently, efforts have been made to gather representatives from these groups to discuss ideas, share initiatives, and coordinate efforts. Those participating in this work to date include staff, students, and faculty from the following areas: The Associate Dean of Academic Performance (Provost Office), Campus Bookstore, Financial Aid, Information Services, Libraries, Purchasing, Student Affairs (Dean of Students and multiple staff members from the Student Involvement Office), Teaching Learning and Cross-Cultural Programming Committee (TLCCP), and Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA).
 
Textbook Affordability

  • Textbook on Reserve Pilot (The WCSA Library of Textbooks). In Fall 2017 the student government (WCSA), in collaboration with the Libraries and Dean of Student Academic Performance, facilitated the purchase of 90 required textbook titles for 100, 200 level general education requirement courses with student government monies. Supplemental materials as well as those requiring access codes were excluded. WCSA voted to continue the program for Spring 2018 after reviewing statistics provided by the Libraries. Criteria for purchase was slightly revised based on the recommendation of the Libraries in order to achieve greatest return on investment. Another 24 books were purchased and advertised to campus for spring semester. This pilot is an extension of an existing library service which already provides many personal or library-owned copies of class texts at the faculty’s request.
  • The Dean of Students now coordinates responses to student financial aid requests for course materials. All requests are vetted by the Libraries to check for reserve access to materials before purchase in the hopes of making available aid stretch further. Students purchasing books with awarded aid will be required to return the materials for students to use next semester, which could also mean inclusion in the Libraries print reserve service.
  • The VP for Finance and Administration/Treasurer facilitated the switch to a campus-owned bookstore this year. In coordination with the Director of Purchasing and Bookstore manager, the store transitioned to a new course content discovery and adoption platform, Sidewalk Hero, with the intent of reducing student costs. The new platform not only allows faculty and students to compare textbook costs but also includes OER options from select open access collections like OpenStax.
  • Public services librarian, Joy Gao, applied for and was selected as the Statistics course content librarian for the Ohio Department of Higher Education OER Innovation Grant.

 
Advocacy

  • OWU is now part of the Open Textbook Network through an OhioLINK consortial membership. The library director has attended a training workshop and is currently in talks with faculty and other consortial library partners about hosting a workshop later in the spring or summer.
  • Staff at the Libraries have created an OER Libguide, Open Education Resources@OWU, to serve as a resource for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Sidewalk Hero, the new bookstore discovery and adoption software, also includes OER options for faculty to consider when adopting textbooks. At the request of the Libraries, the bookstore has also customized messaging to the faculty in the software to contact the Libraries if they would like to learn more about OER options.

 
Alternate Textbooks

  • OWU Libraries continue to offer ERes services (Springshare product) and support for faculty wishing to place shorter required readings on electronic reserve. This service allows librarians to vet readings for copyright and provide links to materials already owned and accessible via library collections.
  • This spring the Libraries will provide a syllabi audit for faculty teaching summer online courses to discover if the Libraries provide online access to any of the required reading, which faculty may opt to use instead.

 

Contact Information: Dee Peterson, Director of Libraries, Ohio Wesleyan University, dmpeters@owu.edu, 740-368-3240