Textbook Alternatives Recap

Mark Morvant discusses textbook alternativesIn case you missed it, Dr. Mark Morvant, the executive director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at OU, lead a discussion about textbook alternatives on November 27th. The goal of the discussion was to open a dialog with faculty and students about open access and low cost course materials and how these materials can lower the costs of attending OU for students.

It is estimated that only 7 out of 10 students purchase textbooks, mainly because of the high price tag. At OU, we are estimating  total textbook costs in a STEM course is as high as $350,000 – $500,000 at an average of $200 per student. Textbook prices have risen 22% over the past four years and in most cases, the editions don’t really have much to offer in terms of new material but new editions are still being churned out every 2-3 years.

At the discussion, Dr. Morvant spoke about alternatives that included aggregating open access and/or low cost content into an iTunes U course and D2L or creating an iBook for supplemental course materials like course packets. Embracing these digital initiatives creates a more multimedia rich and engaging learning experience for our students.

If you’re interested in learning more about using open access or low cost course materials to lower the costs for your students, visit the Center for Teaching Excellence – Alternative Textbooks page to get involved.


Mario A. Rosas is an Academic Technology Consultant and Home Improvement Aficionado. He can be found in Copeland 101 or Pepe del Gados.


Jeremy Hessman