Wednesday, 01 August 2018 11:39

Ohio Educators Looking to Cut Costs for Students

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The ever-increasing cost of paying for college is a burden some students and families are struggling to take on year-in and year-out.

Textbooks alone have gone up more than 1,000 percent since 1977. With that in mind, a group of higher education faculty and staff are gathering this week at the University of Akron to discuss practical ways to reduce the cost of textbooks for students.

The inaugural OhioLINK statewide Affordable Learning Summit is tomorrow (Thursday) from 8:15 a.m. through 4 p.m. at teh Jean Hower Taber Student Union and will feature educators from across the state. 

See the full press release from UA below: 

Akron, OH – August 1, 2018 – Akron, OH – August 1, 2018 – Anyone who's been to college knows the struggle: textbooks can be expensive. The cost of textbooks over the last 30 years has continued to soar, outpacing the consumer price index by three to four times the rate of inflation. In fact, since 1977, the cost of textbooks has risen 1,041 percent. 

Educators in higher education will gather this week at The University of Akron (UA) to focus on reducing textbook costs for students. The inaugural OhioLINK state-wide Affordable Learning Summit is designed to foster information sharing among institutions in Ohio that have affordable-learning initiatives. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, from 8:15 to 4 p.m. in the Jean Hower Taber Student Union 

Making high quality course materials available for free or at minimal cost to students is part of a growing national trend — the Open Educational Resources Movement. UA is emerging as a leader in the trend, having launched an Affordable Learning website earlier this year. Designed as a central gathering place for faculty to share information and experiences on finding, and accessing, free or affordable course materials for their students, it also highlights examples of students’ cost savings, thanks to their professors’ efforts. The initiative is a collaboration of University Libraries, the Institute for Teaching and Learning, University Council’s Textbook Committee and the University Bookstore.

“This summit is unique in that it brings together and addresses the different approaches to affordable learning in one venue,” notes Dr. Aimée deChambeau, dean of University Libraries at UA. “I am particularly excited about the level of collaboration across the state this initiative has inspired. We have leadership from OhioLINK, the Academic Library Association of Ohio, our campus libraries and bookstores, and a wide variety of faculty involved in this event.”

For many faculty on the UA campus, like Dr. Kristine N. Kraft, the effort to reduce the cost of course materials has been ongoing for some time. 

“The need to lower textbook costs is essential,” notes Kraft, an associate professor and interim director of the School of Allied Health Technology in the College of Health Professions. “This does involve some work on the faculty’s part. A faculty member needs to be aware of all the options that are available to them and the students. The process to go open source may be daunting, but if someone starts in small increments, it is a great process.”

Kraft, who also is program director of medical assisting, says they’ve been able to get a bundle price on the books their students must have by working directly with the University Bookstore and the publisher of the books.

“In a program-specific course, we have chosen to use all open source documents,” Kraft continues. “This has been over a five-year implementation. Every year, we have added more and more information, and, after numerous years, we have completely gone open source. By doing this, we have saved the student over $150 a semester, with just one book. This is a course where the book will change often as the information changes often.” 

Prior to the all-day event on Aug. 2, a free and optional half-day pre-summit will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1. It is designed for individuals — such as librarians, instructional designers and administrators — to learn about open educational resources, open textbooks and copyright.

For the schedule and registration information, visit the Affordable Learning Summit online.

For more information on UA mediation courses, visit www.uakron.edu/cfs or contact Dr. Schulze at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Register at https://commerce.cashnet.com/FAMSTU

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