Many groups on the Ohio Wesleyan campus have been working to address the issue of textbook affordability. In Spring 2019, the Director of Libraries was charged by OWU’s Retention Planning Committee to assemble a task force to explore textbook affordability and provide recommendations on a multi-angle approach of how to combat and address the issue so students are not disadvantaged by lack of access to course materials by day/week one of classes. Members of the task force included representatives from the following areas: Campus Store, Faculty (representatives from Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences), Financial Aid, Libraries, Provost Office, Student Affairs, and Student Government. The report along with recommendations was submitted in May. Strategies explored included:
- Assistance Options
- Cost of Textbooks at OWU (surveys)
- Existing Library Resources
- Inclusive Access
- Open Educational Resources
- Library Reserves
- Textbook Exchange
In addition to the work of the task force, the following is a list of activities to-date at Ohio Wesleyan.
- Course Materials on Reserve
- The WCSA Library of Textbooks program began in Fall 2017 as a pilot extension of the library print reserve service which already provided many personal or library-owned copies of class texts at the faculty’s request. Since that time, the pilot has morphed into an annually funded reserve program supported with student government money. The program is a collaboration of the student government (WCSA), Libraries, Campus Store, TLCCP faculty committee, and Student Engagement and Success staff. To date, a total of 141 titles have been purchased and made available.
- The process of requesting aid for course materials has been coordinated, streamlined, and refined over the past several years and now includes the course reserve program as part of the decision-making process.
- The Campus Store and Libraries are also working together to refine the textbook submission software to serve both the needs of the Store and Libraries for determining which texts to purchase for the reserve program.
- Ohio Open Ed Collaborative Grant
- Public services librarian, Joy Gao, was selected as the Statistics course content librarian for the first round of the Ohio Department of Higher Education OER Innovation Grant.
- OWU is now part of the Open Textbook Network through an OhioLINK consortial membership. The library director has attended a training workshop and the idea of making OERs and other affordable learning strategies a topic of a dedicated pedagogy workshop is being recommended by the task force.
- Staff at the Libraries have created an OER Libguide, Open Education Resources@OWU, to serve as a resource for faculty, staff, and students. The Libraries also plan to offer a syllabi review for any interested faculty to determine what assigned materials the Libraries may have access to or own.
- OWU Libraries continue to offer electronic reserve services and support for faculty wishing to place shorter, required readings on e-reserve.
- A handful of OWU faculty have informally reported experimenting with and assigning open textbooks in the past few years to members of the textbook affordability task force group.