An alternative to buying textbooks could be made possible in the near future.
Brandon McCoy and Caitlin Schaefer, future student body president and vice president, brought attention to the idea of open textbooks while campaigning.
Open textbooks are online resource textbooks that are “funded, published and licensed,” so they be used for students, according to McCoy, a junior economics major. Faculty members from various universities review the textbooks for quality and information. The textbooks offered “can be downloaded for no cost or printed at (a) low cost.”
There are benefits to both students and administration when it comes to using open textbooks. For students, open textbooks allow for students not to have to buy textbooks, but instead receive them through an online resource. This allows for a cheaper route for students to obtain their textbooks for classes.
“The goal of open textbooks is to reduce costs to students without diminishing the quality of educational tools used,” McCoy said. “The goal of everything we hope to do is improve the life of students while at the university. Finding ways to reduce costs in the face of increasing tuition and fees would help.”
Tom Peters, dean of library services, agreed with the push for open textbooks.
“The open textbook movement is trying to offer more options that are cheaper, possibly better, (and) more current,” Peters said.
The Open Textbooks would come from Missouri Bibliographic Information User System. This is a “consortium of libraries,” that across Missouri, helps libraries with online resources, Peters said.
MOBIUS has also submitted a proposal for Open Textbooks at Missouri State.
Peters, who sits on the board for MOBIUS, said that the executive director of MOBIUS has made a proposal for Missouri State to implement the open textbook program.
The “consortium” would be at a minimal cost and would be as many textbooks as Missouri State could use for course material.
“Sometimes buying in a group can save the individuals a lot of money,” Peters said.
Through open textbooks, students would be able to save money because of the agreement with MOBIUS.
Implementing open textbooks is currently in the development stages and will need time and support to start, McCoy said.
“Undertaking a project of this magnitude and prominence takes time, especially since it relies on faculty support and adjusting class curriculum to fit a new textbook,” McCoy said. “Our goal is to work with faculty to pilot this in a class or two in spring 2018. Depending on the success, we would push for more classes to adopt open textbooks,” McCoy said. “This is something that won’t happen overnight, but definitely something we can push to become a reality.”