Monday, April 23, 2012

University of Minnesota Creates Open Academics Textbook Catalog

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/23/2012) —In an effort to reduce higher education costs for students, one college at the University of Minnesota announced today that it has created a tool to help faculty find more affordable textbook options. The Open Academics textbook catalog [], created in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), is a searchable online catalog of “open textbooks” that will be reviewed by U of M faculty.

Open textbooks are published under a license that enables students to get free or low-cost versions of their textbooks online, electronically, or in print. The Open Academics catalog is the first of its kind hosted at a major research institution. It is available to faculty worldwide.


College students will spend an average of $1,168 on course materials for 2011-2012. Concerns over textbook costs have fueled a growing movement toward open textbooks and other open educational resources. The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) found that using open textbooks saves students 80 percent on average over traditional textbooks. The Open Academics textbook catalog empowers faculty to bring those savings to U of M students.


The catalog currently lists 84 open textbooks that are in use in classrooms across the country. Over the next year, CEHD will work with U of M faculty to review the texts in this collection, making it easier for users to judge textbook quality. CEHD will support faculty who choose to review and adopt open textbooks with $500-$1,000 stipends.


The catalog is the latest of several noteworthy educational technology programs at the University of Minnesota. All incoming freshmen in CEHD receive iPads, which will enable students to use the less expensive and free digital formats of open textbooks. The U of M is also participating in a multi-university e-textbook pilot program, which, in selected courses, offers e-books at a significantly lower cost.

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See Also

Inside Higher Ed > May 10 2012 > Textbook Alternative


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