I’ve been publishing reports that attempt to capture a snapshot of the impacts and trends of open textbook and OER use at UBC for a few years now. I occasionally get questions about the process for developing the report and, somewhat belatedly, I thought I’d occasionally post some of my documentation and thinking of how I do the reports here.
In terms of the cost savings and student impacts of using open resources, here’s some general notes on what I capture and the calculations and assumptions that I make:
Guidelines for Inclusion
- To be included in the snapshot, there should be no textbook fees/costs for students
- Many courses use OER to supplement paid materials, however, these snapshots attempt to track courses in which OER has replaced paid resources
- To be included in the report, materials do not necessarily have to be openly licensed but should be freely and openly accessible at a minimum. At UBC, such resources often take the form of instructor created custom course notes, interactive media, textbooks, and other learning resources that the instructor has created and posted publicly online but which do not include a stated permission for reuse and/or an open license, such as a Creative Commons license.
- Materials should be on the open web and linkable from the report appendix; if materials are not on the open web (i.e unique course notes that the instructor has developed), the instructor should be able to provide a copy of the materials to share.
Questions to ask specific course instructors:
- Using OER in place of textbook (Y/N)
- Specific sections using the OER – this is important as all sections cannot be assumed to use the same resources; specific sections must be confirmed.
- Title and cost of displaced textbook (note, I also try to independently confirm cost)
- Title and link to the specific OER being used
- All past terms and specific sections (going back five years) that have used that OER
- If they know other instructors using OER
Estimations and Assumptions:
- Use Planing and Institutional Reporting (PAIR) enrolment data to look up actual enrolments on a per section basis (for specific year/term) – this is important as instructors can slightly off on the exact size of their classes
- Per BCcampus & OpenStax formulations, cost savings should be estimated as a range to take into account all options students have for acquiring a text. To estimate the minimum cost savings range, use $100 for minimum savings range. Maximum savings should be estimated based on the actual cost of replaced book.
- If replaced book was less than $100, use the actual amount for minimum savings range.
- If cost or displaced is unknown: Search the UBC bookstore to estimate cost; use $100 if price cannot be determined
- If no text is identified as having been replaced in the last five years, use $100.
- Note: only confirmed OER use should be included in the snapshot; reports on use from OpenStax, BCcampus should be confirmed locally.
I’m always looking to improve and refine these reports. If you have any suggestions, thoughts, questions, please let me know!