FSU Libraries chosen to participate in OpenStax’s Institutional Partner Program

Florida State University Libraries will expand its efforts to increase awareness for the textbook affordability movement and promote the adoption of open educational resources (OER) through a new partnership with OpenStax.

FSU is one of 12 universities that’s been chosen to participate in the 2021-2022 OpenStax Institutional Partner Program. As a participant in the network’s first-year program, FSU Libraries will work actively to build and execute a strategy that will encourage greater use of free, flexible textbooks among its faculty and students.

“FSU is honored to be named as an institutional partner with OpenStax,” said Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “This partnership complements the university’s current efforts to reduce the costs of instructional material by significantly expanding access to high-quality open educational resources. We are excited about this initiative to increase student learning and success by providing affordable access to instructional materials.”

OpenStax, Rice University’s educational technology initiative, aims to improve educational access and learning by publishing openly licensed books, developing and improving research-based courseware and establishing partnerships with educational resource companies. FSU Libraries was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax by demonstrating an eagerness to drive adoption of OER.

“We’re very excited to partner with Florida State University as they grow their OER work into a campus-wide initiative and support their transfer, low-income and first-generation students who are disproportionately impacted by textbook costs,” said Daniel Williamson, OpenStax managing director.

OER are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning and assessing as well as for research purposes. They eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully.

In addition to the immediate benefits for students, OER are offered under a Creative Commons license, allowing instructors to modify textbooks to better serve their unique teaching and evolving student needs.

Participants in the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of colleges and universities advocating widespread use of OER at their institutions. On average, the institutions who join the network increase the number of students impacted by OER by 158 percent after completing the first year. To date, the program has resulted in more than $20M of additional student savings from OER.

Since the launch of FSU Libraries’ Alternative Textbook Grant program in 2017, $43,000 in grants have been awarded to FSU instructors. Significant affordability initiatives to support OER adoption and promotion in the FSU community include ongoing training, education and support for textbook affordability.

FSU Libraries’ new eTextbook program expands upon OER advocacy to identify currently licensed eBooks that serve as course adopted textbooks. To date, the Libraries have published five new open textbooks, including two last year — “Bio-Inspired Sensory Systems” by Geoffrey Brooks and “From Growing to Biology” by Gokhan Hacisalihoglu. These open textbooks are available via Google search and OER repositories like the Open Textbook Library and Merlot.

OpenStax provides free college and Advanced Placement textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators, as well as low-cost, personalized courseware that helps students learn. For more information, visit OpenStax.org.

To learn more about FSU’s OER initiative, visit lib.fsu.edu/services/textbook-affordability.