• OER - Publishers

    For-profit, faux-pen, and critical conversations about the future of learning materials

    I remember the first time I heard the term “free riders” being used in the context of the open education movement. It was at the Open Education Conference in 2015 in Vancouver when, during a presentation titled “The Economics of Open,” the Chief Executive of a for-profit player in the space was referring to those who reuse OER (including for monetary gain) without contributing anything to the commons. I remember reacting with some surprise because, as a co-author of open textbooks, I saw other people reusing my work as a measure of the impact of my efforts. Even as a…

  • Academia - OER - Publishers

    Just how inclusive are “inclusive access” e-textbook programs?

    As is now well documented and understood, unrelenting increases in the prices of university textbooks (typically between 3 and 4 times the rate of inflation) have not been matched by increases in student spending. Whereas the U.S. College Board and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada respectively advise students to budget US$1300 and CA$1000 per year for textbooks and other course materials, data collected by the National Association of College Stores (NACS) show that actual student spending on course materials has dropped to less than half that amount. The result is an increasingly strong relationship between the affordability of course…