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The issue of course textbooks continues to be a challenge at WMU as well as in all of higher education. For students the primary concern is textbook prices. Students often spend several hundred dollars per semester for required textbooks, at a time when tuition and other costs of attending college are increasing as well. Faculty are of course sensitive to student concerns and frustrations about textbook prices, but may be unaware of other options to cover the same content. Currently there is a movement toward Open Educational Resources (OER) which is a way to provide open access to high quality materials to satisfy the same learning objectives as a textbook in a given course. This project reports on two Library initiatives to address some of the current concerns about textbooks. First, the Libraries are currently undertaking a pilot project to purchase required textbooks for targeted, high-enrollment, undergraduate classes and placing them on course reserve for students to use. Second, the Libraries are undertaking a campaign of awareness and education for faculty on alternatives to publisher textbooks. These alternatives include both options for open access textbooks, as well as resources and services currently offered in the Libraries to achieve the same learning objectives as a textbook.


This poster was presented at the WMU Leadership Colloquium on October 31, 2013, at Western Michigan University. Michelle Behr was part of the 2012-13 Academic Leadership Academy cohort.