The price of books is one of the biggest costs for students attending college or university. According to Trends in Higher Education, undergraduates spent an average of more than $1,000 on books and supplies at both public and private colleges in 2018 and 2019.
As part of the Wayne State Open Textbook Project, the Wayne State University Libraries are helping alleviate those costs for students by publishing its second open textbook of 2022, “Urban Health: A Practical Application for Clinical Based Learning,” from nursing faculty Cynthera McNeil, Umeika Stephens and Tara Walker. The book examines and offers solutions around health disparities in urban populations specifically targeted at nursing educators. The book is now available for use at https://www.oercommons.org/courses/urban-health-a-practical-application-for-clinical-based-learning.
“These open textbooks, and the funds that supported their authors, are the result of years-long advocacy from librarians and partners in the Office for Teaching and Learning and the Student Senate, so it’s really gratifying to finally see them in use,” said Joshua Neds-Fox, coordinator of digital publishing at the Wayne State University Libraries.
The Open Textbook Project was advanced through a collaboration with Student Senate as part of its efforts to increase awareness of Open Educational Resources at Wayne State, which was acknowledged in a resolution in 2018. A distinct advantage of open educational resources is a reduction in the skyrocketing cost of textbooks.
The Libraries published its first open textbook, “Mathematics for Biomedical Physics” by Jo Wadehra, at the beginning of the 2022 fall semester. The book has been in use in PHY 3700 and has already been downloaded over 1,000 times since becoming available in August. Two more Open Textbook Project titles will be released in 2023.
“We took care to design this program so that the textbooks would be immediately employed in high-impact, upper-level courses here at Wayne State. Not one student in Dr. Wadehra’s course had to spend a cent to buy the book,” said Neds-Fox.
Open textbooks are a subset of open educational resources and reside in the public domain — where copyrights have been waived by the copyright holder or copyright has expired — or have been released by the copyright holder under an open-copyright license. Open textbooks are available digitally, accessed online or through shareable formats, to be freely used by anyone: students, instructors, librarians and the public. An open textbook is equal to a traditional textbook in scholarly quality and instructional design, but without price or license restrictions on access, use or reuse. All published open textbooks can be browsed at https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/oa_textbooks/. For more information about publishing open textbooks or other open educational resources, contact Joshua Neds-Fox, coordinator of digital publishing, at email@example.com.