Students Perception of Open Textbooks

By: Karen Bjork  

Textbooks have long been an integral learning platform in higher education. As the rising cost of textbooks continues to burden students, many libraries have begun to facilitate the creation and publishing of open textbooks. In 2013, with the support of a Provost-backed initiative, Portland State University (PSU) Library developed an open textbook publishing program that works with faculty to create open textbooks that are designed specifically for the courses that they teach. The publishing initiative, called PDXOpen, has published seventeen open textbooks. The program has saved over 2,500 PSU students over $200,000 on the cost of their books. PSU Library conducted a survey to assess the impact PDXOpen textbooks were having on PSU students’ academic experience. The survey investigates students’ textbook purchasing behavior, how they access and use their open textbook (print or online), their perceptions on the quality, and what features of their open textbook that they like or dislike. This study discusses the results of the survey, its strengths and limitations, and provides recommendations for future open textbook authors and publishing programs.

Publishing Practices: Past, Present, and Future
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Karen Bjork

Head of Digital Initiatives , Library, Portland State University, United States
United States

I manage the Digital Initiatives Unit at Portland State University (PSU) Library. I provides services that support the changing landscape of digital publishing, including the management of PDXScholar, a digital repository that provides online open access to scholarship and research produced by Portland State University faculty and students. I am also the project lead for open the University's open access textbook initiative, PDXOpen.