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FLVC’s Open Educational Resources Summit discusses the high cost of student textbooks

Florida Virtual Campus held its first Open Educational Resources Summit Feb. 7-8 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida. FLVC is a Complete Florida Plus Program, managed by the University of West Florida Division of Research and Strategic Innovation.

“We are deeply grateful to all our amazing speakers, staff, and support teams who helped make this event a hit for state and campus leaders,” said Dr. John Opper, executive director of Distance Learning and Student Services at FLVC. “We had approximately 200 attendees, some stating the summit was as good as any national summit they had attended.”

Attendees heard from Cable Green, director of Open Education at Creative Commons, and many other national and campus leaders who are involved in defining and driving OER strategies and initiatives. The summit’s discussion focused on the high cost of college textbooks and the resources available to students. Speakers identified ideas and options for how Florida can raise the level of awareness regarding textbook costs and bring OER options to the forefront of the conversation.

Studies have shown that the cost of college textbooks is creating a barrier to student success. According to the 2016 FLVC Student Textbook and Course Material Survey, almost 46 percent of college students report not registering for particular classes due to the high textbook cost, and 26 percent of students dropped a course when they found out the cost of the textbook.

Open educational resources are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets useful for teaching, learning and research purposes. One state funded resource for storing and sharing OER is the Orange Grove, an online collection of textbooks and educational materials available to Florida students and faculty for free. Using this resource, students can find textbooks for a range of courses, from english composition to oceanography to precalculus.

If you were unable to attend the summit, a video archive of the presentations can be found on the FLVC YouTube page.