Rather than trying to identify the exact cost of new/used textbooks faculty are assigning, which would be unrealistic to calculate due to students having several outlets to purchase texts (bookstore, Amazon, Chegg, websites, etc.), RWU now calculates student savings according to the Open Textbook Network’s $100 standard, which is based on multiple studies proving that $100 is a reasonable median figure to use. The following formula is used by the Scholarly Communications Librarian to calculate student savings:
[# of enrolled students after add/drop period] x [$ 100] = [savings estimate per course]
Applying this formula to track known OER Faculty Fellows courses, plus past Fellows who are still assigning Open Educational Resources in lieu of commercial resources, we can estimate that since 2016 we have saved 2,255 students $225,500. For a private institution, with no state aid to supplement these OER initiatives (like funding the Fellows program), this number is laudable and should be celebrated!
If you are a full or part-time faculty member at Roger Williams University and you are interested in becoming an OER Faculty Fellow, please contact Lindsey Gumb for more information. Our Fellows dedicate a semester to learning about OER and developing their new OER-based courses and then implementation and assessment occur in the following semester.
The 2020 cohort are all members of the Writing Department, collaborating on an open textbook together.