"We need to attack the problem of college affordability from every angle," Raimondo said. "It's not just the cost of courses or standardized tests that price students out of getting a degree; it's also the cost of textbooks. That's why last year, I launched the Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative, challenging every college and university in the state to save students money by switching to free, openly-licensed textbooks. And just one year in, we're seeing results."
The Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative supports faculty in shifting from expensive, commercially licensed textbooks to free, openly-licensed textbooks of the same or better quality. All eleven Rhode Island public and private higher education institutions have committed to the effort, joining a statewide steering committee and hosting sixteen on-campus trainings across the state.
"The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner is pleased to support training for faculty to become familiar with open educational resources," Postsecondary Education Commissioner Brenda Dann-Messier said. "Many times they simply don't know about alternatives to traditional course materials that can make postsecondary education more affordable."
To date, over forty Rhode Island professors have reported adopting an open textbook since the initiative's inception, representing thirty-four different subject areas ranging from biology to economics to hospitality to psychology. At Rhode Island College, the Basic Principles in Biology course switched to an openly-licensed text, saving over 400 students almost $50,000 in total.
"Over the past year, we have seen the Open Textbook program grow from just one course to 24 courses at Rhode Island College," said Frank D. Sánchez, Rhode Island College President. "The Open Textbook initiative is an important strategy to keep the cost of college and out-of-pocket expenses down. This year alone, we anticipate a savings of well over $100,000 for RIC students. The program has been, and will continue to be, a great resource for our students."
For more information, visit http://innovate.ri.gov/opentextbook.