Online Textbooks Will Save Students Money


05/04/2018

Online Textbooks Will Save Students Money

A new affordability initiative at SAU could save students as much as $1 million per year.

That's real savings.

St. Ambrose has contracted with the University of Minnesota's Open Textbook Network (OTN) to help reduce the money students spend on textbooks each year. Beginning in the fall, textbooks and instructional materials for a number of courses will be available online for free or at a minimal cost.

According to Mary Heinzman '08 MBA, chair of a workgroup tasked with addressing the affordability of a St. Ambrose education, textbook costs have increased 88 percent in the past decade. She said students can spend between $900 and $1,200 on texts and materials in a single year.

money

The new initiative can significantly reduce those costs. "If we could get half of our classes to use free or minimal cost materials online, we could save students upwards of $1 million in a year," Heinzman said.

A number of instructors have embraced the open textbook concept, and others are investigating. Most online courses next fall will enlist the OTN options or find other means of making text, video and other instructional materials available for free or at a lower cost online.

The Library has purchased a number of instructional materials that will be available at no charge via Blackboard, Heinzman said. The SAU Bookstore also will make text materials available online at reduced costs.

"There is no one perfect option for everybody," Heinzman said. "We are trying to find a mix of options that will make education more affordable for our students."


If we could get half of our classes to use free or minimal cost materials online, we could save students upwards of $1 million in a year.

Mary Heinzman


The new initiative can significantly reduce those costs. "If we could get half of our classes to use free or minimal cost materials online, we could save students upwards of $1 million in a year," Heinzman said.

A number of instructors have embraced the open textbook concept, and others are investigating. Most online courses next fall will enlist the OTN options or find other means of making text, video and other instructional materials available for free or at a lower cost online.

The Library has purchased a number of instructional materials that will be available at no charge via Blackboard, Heinzman said. The SAU Bookstore also will make text materials available online at reduced costs.

"There is no one perfect option for everybody," Heinzman said. "We are trying to find a mix of options that will make education more affordable for our students."

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