Higher Education Publishers Continue to Provide Students with Course Material Options, including OER
While course materials today cost just 1-2% of total college expenses, publishers recognize that every dollar counts and continue to offer students a variety of options. Companies such as Cengage, Macmillan and McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Wiley have recently announced major offerings that help students manage costs, and frequently use or provide access to open educational resources (OER).
OER are teaching, learning and research materials that are in the public domain or available with an open license. They can include courseware, learning objects and multimedia.
OpenNow from Cengage is a suite of digital products for general education courses, which provides technology-enhanced OER content starting at $25 per course. The products deliver curriculum-aligned OER content on an intuitive, outcomes-based platform that offers students access to high-quality materials at an affordable price.
Macmillan’s Intellus Learning Open Courses is an enhanced OER solution that makes available pre-built, fully-customizable courses curated by faculty, for faculty, with access to more than 5.4 million resources for $14.99 per course. Intellus Open Courses make it easy for faculty to find, adopt, and use the highest quality OER resources and deliver a customizable, affordable course to students and couples content with editorially-driven pedagogy.
McGraw-Hill expanded its affordability initiatives with the launch of a new textbook and eBook rental program in a move that would make all new hardbound textbooks available only for rent and lower costs for students. Rentals will be available on McGraw-Hill’s website, as well as through approved distributors starting with Barnes & Noble and Chegg. The rental program is expected to save students as much as 70 percent off the cost of traditional print textbooks.
Pearson Collections is a customizable content library, which offers an all-in-one application of textbooks, OER, lesson plans, and web resources. It lets instructors create their own flexible, unique, custom course materials. Easy-to-use curation tools help instructors choose chapters and resources from Pearson's vast catalog, plus add their own materials, to create the perfect course resource.
In 2013, Wiley began partnering with OpenStax College to deliver content from two OpenStax biology textbooks via the WileyPLUS platform with its online learning, practice and assessment resources. The partnership gives students an option of paying a reduced price for a personalized experience that can improve learning outcomes. Using philanthropic support, OpenStax, an initiative of Rice University, produces textbooks available for free online.
OER isn’t the only way publishers are reducing the cost of course materials. New programs like Inclusive Access and the transition to less expensive digital materials are also paving the way for lower costs for students.
In 2017, research from Student Monitor and the National Association of College Stores (NACS) found that student spending on textbooks and course materials declined for the second year in a row. This is in part because publishers have introduced options to lower the price of course materials.