In the past, this campaign has advocated for Open Educational Resources and has seen real fruits from our labor! Our latest initiative through collaboration with USG brought the Textbook Exchange Network (TEN) to Storrs which facilitates the buying and selling of course materials which is 100% student directed.
The Affordable Textbooks Campaign consists of a dedicated group of interns and volunteers whose mission is to shift power away from big textbook publishers into the hands of students alike.
In the Legislature
In 2008, Congress passes the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which banned some of the publisher’s worst practices that adversely affect students.
In 2011 and 2012, respectively, Washington and California enact laws to create statewide open textbooks and open educational resource programs.
In 2013, Senators Durbin and Franken, with Congressmen Miller and Hinojosa, introduce companion bills to create a federal open textbook grant program.
In 2018, Congress includes $5 million in the federal budget for online education resources.
To continue to be successful, we must continue to generate interest in increased federal funding of open textbook projects while demonstrating student need and faculty support for new or more robust funding of open textbook programs on individual campuses. We’re also running a massive educational campaign to convince faculty to transition to open textbooks and to put them on alert for shady publisher practices and products.
In 2015, we launched the campaign for Open Textbooks at UConn in collaboration with the Undergraduate Student Government. Students held events, gathered petitions, and met with campus leaders to advocate for more funding for OER. This campaign expanded beyond the campus community as we brought together student leaders, administration, faculty, librarians, and State Representative Gregg Haddad and Senator Mae Flexer to form a statewide task force. The strong advocacy led to the State Legislature passing Special Act No. 15-18, An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open-Source Textbooks in Higher Education (House Bill 6117). In addition, the University Senate passed a resolution put forth by the Senate Student Welfare Committee in support of the Open Textbook Initiative.
The OER initiative on campus has impacted several thousand students through the adoption of open textbooks and course redesigns to increase affordability. Several faculty have redesigned their courses to make the materials either no cost or very low cost. In September of 2016, the Provost added $100,000 in award money for faculty who teach large classes to adopt, adapt, or create open textbooks, and the UConn Co-op, a former independent bookstore at the university, gifted the UConn Library’s OER Initiative with $300,000 for future development of open on campus. UConn has awarded grants to about 15 faculty for adoptions, adaptations, and the creation of new textbooks which will be shared with the world when they are completed. UConnPIRG students travel to conferences to highlight the collaboration and success their campus has had in expanding OER. We continuously hold panels to educate faculty on OER and how they can switch over their classes.