Recognizing the importance of affordability in education, in 2017 Franklin University implemented its etextbook initiative. The goal of the etextbook initiative is to provide students with online access to textbooks and to lower textbook costs.
As part of the etextbook initiative, courses may use ebooks licensed through the library, or open educational resources, which are available to students at no cost. Librarians work with faculty and course designers to identify titles which the library can purchase for use in courses, or which are available for use under an open license. Franklin University currently (fall 2022) uses 300 library etextbooks and 36 OER or other external free ebooks as textbooks in courses.
When new textbooks are adopted for a course, the library receives notice and checks whether the new textbook can be made available to students as a free library textbook. As of fall, 2022, 40% of courses with textbooks use either library etextbooks or OER textbooks. You can see additional information about courses using library/OER textbooks and student savings resulting from this use on Franklin University's library/OER textbook use dashboard.
Alternative Textbook Programs
When courses are being created/redesigned, librarians will work with faculty and course designers to identify alternatives to textbooks which are available through the library to students at no charge. These alternatives include articles/ebooks available through library databases or open access resources.
Faculty/course designers identify areas where they need resources to replace (or take the place of) textbooks. They then consult with a member of the library’s staff (either meeting in person or online, by email, or through submitting a research consultation form) to inform the library of these topics. Librarians then conduct research and provide their findings to the faculty/instructional designer who will review them and choose what library eresources to include in the class.
The library has made the instructional design team and faculty members aware of these library services. Additionally, liaison librarians have made their faculty aware of the library’s ability to conduct research projects to identify library materials which can be used to replace textbooks.
The library has also created an Open Educational Resources (OER) Research Guide to help course designers and faculty members locate and evaluate OER alternatives to traditional textbooks.
Faculty can fill out the faculty etextbook request form to ask the library to identify possible library etextbooks they can use.
Additional information about Franklin University’s affordable learning initiative is available on the Franklin University Library’s Affordable Learning Guide.