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ERIC Number: ED507058
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Affordable and Open Textbooks: An Exploratory Study of Faculty Attitudes. Research & Occasional Paper Series. CSHE.9.09
Harley, Diane; Lawrence, Shannon; Acord, Sophia Krzys; Dixson, Jason
Center for Studies in Higher Education
The Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs)--who have been at the forefront of raising awareness about textbook affordability for much of the past decade--launched a two-year campaign ( in 2007 to drive mainstream faculty's acceptance of open textbooks and other affordable alternatives in place of traditional textbooks. University of California (UC) Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education was awarded a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, via the Student PIRGs, to conduct an independent, objective, and exploratory analysis of the campaign using an online survey and focus groups. The researchers also more generally addressed faculty perceptions about affordability and open textbooks. Their results show that faculty want a diversity of choices. They are independent thinkers, exceptionally busy, suffer from extreme information overload, are generally dedicated to ensuring their students' success, and do not take well to "one size fits all" solutions. Regarding the demand for open textbooks, there simply are not enough currently available in enough disciplines to satisfy the multitude of faculty and student needs in lower and upper division courses; a much wider array of high-quality, easy-to-use, and reliable open textbooks will have to be produced for more widespread faculty adoption to be realized. Even then, open textbooks will likely be only one of many players in the curricular materials market. A single, predetermined solution (e.g.,"open textbooks" or "open educational resources") and such jargon may very well work against the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement and faculty's willingness to explore new options. Finally, the researchers strongly recommend that a wide range of faculty (and student) input be considered essential to any conversation about the future of textbook affordability. Survey Instrument is appended. (Contains 11 footnotes and 8 tables.)
Center for Studies in Higher Education. University of California, Berkeley, 771 Evans Hall #4650, Berkeley, CA 94720-4650. Tel: 510-642-5040; Fax: 510-643-6845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of California, Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education
Identifiers - Location: California